With the unveiling of YouTube Red, the world's largest video provider now offers a premium paid-subscription plan that will allow viewers to bypass the site's ubiquitous ads. This move has seemed inevitable for a long time - the pay model has served other video and music streamers well, and YouTube has an enormous viewer base. With the boom in ad-blocking software as well, content providers across the web are looking for ways to ensure steady revenue.
YouTube's model could face some challenges, however. Their content is typically of the "snackable" variety - small clips watched through a shared link or in a spare minute mid-commute. Skipping all those pre-roll ads might add up to a lot of saved time over a year, but can consumers be expected to open their wallets when it's become habitual for many of us to just click "Skip Ad" after three seconds?
The other question is one of account fatigue. We now have monthly subscriptions to Netflix, HBOGo, Hulu, Spotify, and any number of more specialized services, and with each of these comes another username and password and signup process. The hassle of adding one more account might not stop many people from bringing YouTube into their mix, but as we approach a critical mass of paid user accounts, it seems like the emergence of some kind of cable-package-style aggregator of streaming subscriptions is increasingly inevitable.