Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 27, 2022
YouTube Prime Lite

There is a trope in movies and TV series where the prospective victim of an assassination offers the hitman double the money if he doesn't do his job. I feel I just paid this "double the money" to YouTube by subscribing to YouTube Prime Lite in order to stop them bothering me with advertising. Unlike the more expensive regular YouTube Prime, the Lite version *only* stops the advertising, and doesn't offer additional benefits like the ability to download or play in the background. It is simply that advertisers offer money to YouTube to force me to see ads, and I paid them more to stop doing so.

YouTube ads have an average cost per view of between 1 and 3 US cents. So the $7 YouTube Premium Lite subscription corresponds to watching 350 ads per month. It is a testament to the failure of YouTube to make advertising even remotely relevant to me that I'd rather pay those $7 than watch those 350 ads. Part of this might have to do with me living in Belgium, which means there are fewer "local" ads, and such more repetition, plus a lot of ads in Dutch, which I don't speak. But I am not sure that even American YouTube viewers get to see ads that interest them. Due to my interest in games I got to see a lot of those highly annoying fake ads for mobile games. And more and more I had to watch ads that were highly intrusive, e.g. interrupting a live stream, or several unskippable ads in a row. That gets especially bothersome if you do the YouTube equivalent of zapping, watching a lot of different videos that are shorter, or you don't watch completely, because many ads are put before videos.

If you consider that an advertisement has both a positive value for the advertiser peddling his goods and a negative value for the viewer who would much rather watch the video he clicked on, the question is which of those two values is higher. Is YouTube advertising actually causing more bother to viewers than it is causing additional sales to the advertisers? The very existence of YouTube Premium Lite suggests that at least for some viewers this is the case.

I literally never see a single add on YouTube and haven't for years. There are multiple, free add-ons for Firefox that completnely, invisibly and seamlessly remove or block them. Why would you not just use one of those?
Because I am watching on my iPad with the YouTube app, not with a browser on a PC.
As I kid I didn't really mind commercials on television. That changed the more that I aged. When DVRs came out I jumped on it hoping to not have to watch commercials again. Then I started watching more video online using an ad blocker. After a little while I started thinking about the advertising business model more. If the only reason company A can make money is because company B is paying them money for an advertising window then my viewing was being subsidized by the other people watching the advertisements. I don't use an ad blocker anymore, I just mute the ads. It's irritating but I don't feel like I'm stealing from anyone that way. The unwritten contract is that I can watch the video if the company can deliver ads to pay for the service and make a profit.

Of course there are other views and I think this is exactly why offering people the option to pay to avoid ads is good. You are offering the customer two business models to choose from. To me it's similar to game companies offering time-based or monetary-based progress. People value things differently so giving them options is good IMO.

Personally, I have no problem with the advertisements, I have a problem with the quantity of them. I understand that you can't provide something for free when the company has expenses. I have a problem with the quantity of advertisements. There are so many now that you can watch 30 seconds of a video and then get two 15 second ads. I don't even know if I want to watch more of the video and I'm faced with ads.

I agree with you about the validity of the ads, however I don't want that to change. If the ads are better tailored to us then that means the company has more detailed data about us to make those ads better suited to us as individuals. I don't want them having more data about me. So I except that the ad business is like the phishing business - you make money through pure volume since you have a low view-through rate.

Hmm. I don't see ads on YouTube on my Kindle Fire either because I watch YouTube in a browser with ad blockers in force. According to a quick google search, Apple's own Safari browser comes with an ad block option built in, so you don't even need an add-on. I've tried the YouTube App on various devices and it's always given me a much worse experience in pretty much every way - can't read the comments easily, recommendations are all over the place, layout just looks horrible, you name it. Not sure why you'd ever want to use it in preference to just opening YT in a browser but maybe I'm missing something...

I have noticed a marked rise in YouTube advertising to me in the last few months. I surmise this is because as the number of prime and prime lite YouTube subscribers rises, the number of non-subscribers like me has been falling. But the Department of Selling Ad Views to Advertisers has no intention of reducing its sales targets, so each non-subscriber is forced to watch more ads per hour to keep that department on target for their bonuses.
I'll also haven't seen ads on YouTube in years due to various Android apps and browser extensions. I detest IOS and would jailbreak an Apple device if I owned one for the sole purpose of loading ad block software.

I completely stopped watching Twitch streams precisely because they are constantly managing to break ad block scripts.
I never see a single ad but I consume YT on my PC. When I cast it on a TV from my phone... Well, I hate it. Stuff gets interrupted by ads all the time, yes.
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