YouTube Red - First Look
As promised last week - I've been looking at YouTube Red and here's my first take. Quick recap - the service isn't available in Oz yet, costs $10 per month for ad free YouTube, comes bundled with Google Play Music (think Spotify killer) and Google Gaming, allows offline play and access to exclusive YouTube Originals content. So - what's the story? ~~
Look and Feel
If you are expecting new UI, branding, new features - nope. This early version looks just like the old one.
Exclusive Content - AWOL
If you are expecting a flurry of YouTube Originals - no luck. I was hoping to see at least some of the YouTube Originals slate (as described in our last bulletin) on display. After all - if YouTube is making a play for the SVOD space alongside the Nefllix/Hulu/Stan mob, then they should be banking on some punters signing up for the exclusive content. I could only see one ep of one of the promised Originals slate on display, plus a couple of teasers. Disappointing!
Offline and background mode?
Well it could be there but I couldn't see how to do it.
Google Play Music subscription
There's no obvious way of accessing this from YouTube Red. The option of a Content Console for switching platforms would have been a very cool feature. So logging in separately to Music with another tab launches a Pandora-like interface which leads to some great "radios" put together from a self-selection of genres. This interface could be a real Spotify killer and to my ears the sound quality was better. That might be worth the price of the subs right there and of course it too, is ad-free.
Gaming I'm not a gamer, so this part of the offer passed me by - sorry all gamers! Maybe someone would like to report?
All the videos are ad free and that is delightful. I didn't realise how irksome it was to skip the TrueView ads.
YouTube is clearly banking on the ad-free experience and the bonus of Google Play Music to lure customers into parting with $10 at this early stage. Is it enough? Personally I feel a bit let down. I really want the new model to work for content creators, but Red seems a bit un-ready.