by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 15th 2007 7:44am
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.
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