Hank and John Green will not support YouTube Red by providing exclusive content for paid subscribers… “so far.”
In a 17-minute video, Hank Green sets out to explain YouTube’s new paid subscription service YouTube Red to the viewers.
He empathizes that nothing will change for non-paying subscribers. He also thinks the $9.99 price tag is a bit steep, though he will be subscribing himself.
Hank goes on to outline the main concerns of YouTube viewers, who are worried that YouTube Red will cause a divide between paying and non-paying fans. YouTube has apparently contacted vloggers, including Hank and John Green, and asked them to provide exclusive content for paying subscribers.
“We have so far said no,” Hank says, “We’ve so far said we want all the stuff we are currently doing to continue being available on YouTube.”
However, while Hank and John “would feel a little weird, having content that people would have to pay for,” Hank does acknowledge that, “if I had a really good idea that matched really well, and I felt was un-doable without this support, I would totally do this.” He also wouldn’t begrudge other creators who’d want to put their high-quality content behind a paywall.
This is at once reassuring and worrying. While we appreciate Hank’s sentiment, we also know that the Vlog Brothers are in a very privileged position, and care a lot about their young, financially dependent consumers.
We’ll have to assume that many big-name YouTubers will find the subscription model too tempting to resist, and that YouTube Red will offer creators the chance to put their best stuff behind that $9.99 paywall, and maybe keep their public channels for low-res versions of videos, or teasers for full-length, paid products.
On one hand, we don’t begrudge creators from wanting fans to pay for their stuff. Of course not. But one of the best things about YouTube is that it’s a free service, both for creators and consumers. Creators have a platform on which to display their craft, and consumers have a platform where they can experience awesome, free video content, whether that’s exercise videos, tutorials, vlogs, web series or game playthroughs.
It’s also worth noting, like Hank points out, that paying YouTube $9.99 for a subscription isn’t necessarily the best way to support the YouTubers you love, as they aren’t actually likely to make a lot of money off of this. “It’s probably better to buy some merch,” he muses.
Teens and students, especially, will suffer from this paid model, as, like Hank Green says, not everyone has $120 a year to spend on a YouTube subscription.
In the video, Hank Green goes on to outline how creators and YouTube will divide the profit, and more practical details on YouTube Red.