The Chasm Between Saying You'd Pay For YouTube Content And Actually Paying For YouTube Content

from the that's-one-grand-canyon dept

There's been a bit of a discussion going on around a recent survey saying that 11% of people would pay for YouTube content if it meant they could avoid the advertisements. That has people estimating how much money YouTube may be leaving on the table, by not offering a "premium" tier. However, before people start counting this non-existent revenue, there are a few important things to consider. First up, this is a survey of what people say they would do, which often has little bearing on what people actually would do. Many people might think they would pay, but when the option comes up... they don't bother. Already it's pretty easy to avoid the ads on YouTube if you want, so the "cost" of seeing the ads isn't really that high -- and a subscription would have to compete with the ease of just installing an adblocker. On top of that, this discussion ignores how the rest of the market would react. If you were running one of the smaller video hosting sites out there, and YouTube announced a premium service, you would start promoting the hell out of the fact that you could get the same content without paying at your site. While it's true that some people would pay, it would probably serve to boost up some of YouTube's competitors and potentially stunt YouTube's growth. That's not to say there couldn't be premium services that make sense -- but they're probably more for the producers of content, rather than the viewers.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Lucas, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 8:02am

    /agree

     

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  2.  
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    Greg, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 8:17am

    The only thing that AdBlock wouldn't block would be pre- or post-roll ads that were actually integrated into the video.

    YouTube doesn't even have those, and if they added them at the same time as a premium subscription, I think people would see it as an obvious ploy to get people to pony up for a subscription to get the ads removed.

    Which, yeah, is just going to send their users to some site that's not YouTube. It's a rough prospect, trying to make money off of YouTube.

     

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  3.  
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    Hal, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 8:28am

    Whotube?

    I can tell that I'm never going to be a dotcom millionaire++ because I still can't see where anyone finds value in YouTube. 99% completely boring and 100% poor quality video... I never would have thought there were that many bored silly people who'd entertain themselves with the garbage you see there. Ok, there's the occassional video that brings a momentary chuckle or that we're not supposed to have or sharing copyrighted content that teens want, but still.

    Premium services on YouTube: Make low quality video available free, but higher bitrate video comes with a paid subscription. Some might pay for clearer views of the hot chicks, the instructionals, and their favorite stars and personalities. Then maybe not, because as I said, I still don't see why anyone values YouTube.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike C., Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:07am

    There are ads on YouTube?

    Who knew....

    Firefox + AdBlockPlus... :-)

     

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  5.  
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    ben aged 89, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:24am

    back in my day if we wanted porn all we did was go to our sisters and told them to get there kit off non of this youtube business people today are so homo

     

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  6.  
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    ben aged 89, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:24am

    we didnt have to pay either

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:32am

    Re:

    I don't think incest is the same as porn... Your post has got to go.

     

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  8.  
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    Freedom, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:33am

    Premium Content - Good Idea...

    Makes sense to me to offer premium account. In almost every aspect I can think of there are premium options that cost more than the alternative.

    This also opens the door to offer copyright material properly for the premium subscription base - think HBO.

     

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  9.  
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    Nick (profile), Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    I think the customers who would block ads would not be the same customers who would pay a premium. However, not seeing ads would be the minimum requirement for paying. I (think) would pay that much for delivery to a Tivo, AppleTV, or iPod and without DRM.

    The one thing that YouTube has that the others don't is brand recognition. So it would be nice to see them leverage some of that while not changing the experience you can get right now: free but with ads.

     

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  10.  
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    Eliot, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 10:32am

    back in my day if we wanted porn all we did was go to our sisters and told them to get there kit off non of this youtube business people today are so homo

    Can someone just remove this comment? Anyone? I really hope that the Stupid Filter gets done soon.

     

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  11.  
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    JS Beckerist, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 11:30am

    Re: There are ads on YouTube?

     

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  12.  
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    Max Powers, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 12:10pm

    Help

    Is this what I have to look forward to if I make it to 89?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 12:30pm

    Why in the hell would I *PAY* to watch a bunch of attention whores acting like idiots? Do I really need to waste my precious time watching 80 year old recluses singing songs I've never heard of (and poorly) or fifteen year old girls shaking their asses to some stupid rap song? Or idiot teenagers smashing themselves into fences?

    YOU are the attention whore uploading YOUR content in a desperate attempt to get my attention and eyeballs and get some validation for your existence . . . so YOU should pay ME to visit the site.

    I really love google, but the only think stupider than Orkut is YouTube. Lowest fucking common denominator.

     

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  14.  
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    Nick (profile), Nov 15th, 2007 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    Clearly, you are not in the target demographic for such as service. Nonetheless, it is not a reason for it not to be offered.

     

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  15.  
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    Bill, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    Before google took over, Youtube was great. If you wanted an old video of your favorite musician or singer.. it was there. Now that google has complied with DMCA complaints and removed much of the content & shortened video play times the service is a mere shadow of it's former self. Google would have to do very little to come up with multiple tiers of service if that is their goal. However, instead of running forward with a pay service, it would be prudent if Google began a donation option.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:46pm

    I guess you can put me in the "too old" basket as well.

    Youtube = boring crap.

    I can't even imagine paying money to access it.

     

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  17.  
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    bayareaguy, Nov 18th, 2007 @ 3:19pm

    How about paying to NOT have YouTube content

    I'm a parent whose kids occasionally saturate our internet connection with downloads.

    Neither our router or dsl modem support interface throttling so I'm about to buy a http://www.soekris.com/net4801.htm and set up my own solution to ensure I can get some work done. I could do this with a spare PC but I want something that won't eat a lot of power.

    This would make a killer feature for the next Apple AirPort since the kids already have their own network.

     

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  18.  
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    Brandon, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    I would not like to see youtube offer a "premium" service, generally it defeats the idea and purpose of youtube to be a free and easy way to share online videos. If they were to offer a premium service no doubt more and more ads would creep in on the free version and they would encourage you to buy "premium" service. It could be ok if done right, I guess, they have to give enough incentive to want to buy it without taking away features for free users.

     

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