Google’s newest On-Demand music venture, YouTube Red, raises several Red Flags for consumers (at the very least, it most certainly should). According to TechCrunch, the service is intended to replace Google Music Key and to give users a way to watch or listen to YouTube videos without ads. YouTube Red wont have it’s own app, appearing only as an additional tab on existing YouTube and Google accounts.
First Red Flag: A monthly $9.99 subscription fee for non-IOS users and a $12.99 subscription fee for IOS users. The first concern is that YouTube competitors, with particular emphasis on Netflix, charges only from $7.99 to $12.00 per month with a far superior, no-commercial service. While YouTube Red boasts the ability to use the service offline, Spotify has the same capabilities: it’s own app, AND identical prices for all users regardless of operating device. As it stands, the general price and differentiation in price between apple and non-apple users seems like a stretch.
Second Red Flag: Any partnered creator who opts out of signing the deal with YouTube Red will have their content on the ad-free old school YouTube hidden. This leaves me wondering what the partner deals entail. Assuming crucial creative partners opt out, is the service worth the risk? It is likely that if a certain creator DOES opt out, YouTube is risking the loss of those particular partners’ loyal viewers as well. It seems that if they go, they will not go silently, which will probably result in a spectrum of negative social media attention for YouTube Red.
Third Red Flag: Are users so annoyed with ads that they would even consider paying for this service? Today, YouTube gives users the opportunity to skip ads after a certain number of seconds. Additionally, I find myself actually intrigued by some of the ads YouTube displays. As a regular YouTube constituent, I find that the ads are rarely dated or annoying.
The Consumer Decision Journey traces the way in which consumers ultimately make purchasing decisions. The journey includes: Awareness, Familiarity, Consideration, Purchase, and Loyalty. While the wave of digital has changed things slightly, decision-making remains essentially the same. In analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of YouTube Red, it seems as though Google is taking a huge risk in anticipating that YouTube Red will be successful. As a YouTube regular, I can firmly say I would not subscribe to YouTube Red. I think the service will have difficulty generating consideration, purchase, and loyalty from the majority. At the end of the day, though, if any company can afford a failed service, it’s Google!
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