Would You Pay To Watch YouTube Videos? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Yaara Lancet 12-05-2013

Would You Pay To Watch YouTube Videos? [MakeUseOf Poll] pollsLast week we asked you how many devices that can connect to the Internet you own. Due to a slight glitch causing the poll to disappear from the post for a while, not many people had the chance to vote, but I highly recommend reading through the comments from some interesting insights on our connectivity!

Out of 250 readers who voted, 1% own 0 devices (that’s 2 whole people!), 15.5% own 1-3 devices, 35.5% own 4-6 devices, 23% own 7-10 devices, and 25% of the readers who voted own more than 10 devices that can connect to the Internet. Take that, 90s!

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

Would You Pay To Watch YouTube Videos? [MakeUseOf Poll] poll results may 12

This week’s poll question is: Would You Pay To Watch YouTube Videos?

Want to make some extra MakeUseOf reward points? The most useful comment on the poll will be awarded 150 points!

One of the biggest things that happened this week was the launch of paid channels on YouTube. While limited in number and availability to start, this is not something that’s going to stay small for long. YouTube is a video platform that’s always been completely free, and although ads are becoming more and more common, asking people to pay for channel subscriptions is quite a leap of faith from Google. Or is it? Would you gladly pay a subscription for a channel you like, or do you prefer watching ads? Should YouTube stay free forever, or is this a good step towards making it a better place?

While the poll only includes three answers, you’re more than welcome to explain your views and full opinions in the comments!

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  1. Sharry
    May 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Well it depends if the YouTube Views are real or fake.
    I have been using YouTube Views services for quite a while now and their views come in from facebook and other social media websites so yeah, they seem legit

  2. Ali Khan
    May 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    No ... and i hope google remove this plan.

  3. Amir Meta
    May 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    no way paying, i think that even commercials are too much also its not offering something different than a cable tv

  4. Robert Brown
    May 14, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Many videos on YouTube are generated, and promoted, by persons who have no real concept of the real world, or of the physics which governs it!
    Stupid is as Stupid does!
    If we removed all of the warning labels from everything, we might see how real life sorts it out.!

  5. Robert Brown
    May 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

    I will not pay for ANY videos, etc. from any of the established websites because most of the material is obtained from "unknown, possibly 'stupid' sources, and almost any well versed IT tech can alter the real to fit their agenda.

  6. Reedyseth
    May 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

    As long that is not expensive and I get rid of the Ads, I could we willing to pay for the service. But ratings of views on video wills go down considerably.

  7. macwitty
    May 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    If it is good content i will pay. If it is what Youtube mostly offer today I will not. i think we will see some new channels who try it out - some will stay other will go. Most of the content will probably stay free as the content is not pay-quality

  8. null
    May 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    You will pay dearly for viewing Youtube content if someone posts a copy written video for you to click on: TPP wlll likely come into force this fall:

  9. Arron Walker
    May 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I voted no in the poll, although I am rather on the fence about it. The main issue I see is AdBlock: people complain about the adverts all the time, yet they are how the content pays for itself. Youtube is not a charity, if they can't turn a profit, what motivation do Google have to host the website?

    I would much prefer options on how to support the content, and what adverts will be shown. Adverts are decided automatically by tracking, I would much rather a options page on my account which let's me tell them what I am interested in hearing about, and also impose time restrictions. There are two channels I actively support, to the point if an advert is not shown when I load the video, I will refresh to get one. Yet even despite this, I prefer 30 second ads, will tolerate minutes, but two minutes and more I refuse to watch. It would be nice to be able to tailor these a little more, or perhaps pay to remove ads.

  10. James Ezell
    May 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I've looked at the offerings and nothing there is worth paying what is being asked.

  11. Chris Bell
    May 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Not just no but hell no!!!

  12. null
    May 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    It depend on the content

  13. Keith
    May 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I find that most of the content on you tube is slow to stream and while I will accept this for free ( most of the time) I will not pay for it. It also depends on now such payment is made if it were a very small fee per month for complete access to a better experance I would think about it.

  14. Fritz Goebel
    May 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I barely have enough time to watch the free shows I presently record for later viewing; why would I pay to add to this backlog?

  15. Eric Bassinger
    May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Just curious if Google is doing this so that they can make more money or if they are paying the people producing videos for the paid channels?

    • Arron Walker
      May 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Likely a combination of both. There are people who make their living off Youtube, to them, every ad view counts.

  16. Bumferry
    May 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I can't really get my head around somebody wanting to charge a subscription fee for watching videos.
    Granted for movies and TV shows a fee is understandable but youtube is/was, as far as I understood it, was a way of SHARING videos.

    Having to subscribe to watch a channel would mean that although I can watch a video and enjoy it, I would not be able to SHARE this video amongst friends, therefore increasing it's appeal, without somebody else having to PAY to view it.

    For all the annoyances of having those adverts pop up before or even during videos, forcing a regular payment (even a little one) seems petty and greedy and, in my opinion, will ultimately reduce the amount of people seeing the work resulting is fewer hits and less revenue either way.

    Plus the fact that a good number of these first channels to opt in to the subscription fees are aimed at children, Sesame St for example.
    This is a really crappy way of using emotional blackmail by making kids force their parents to pay up front so the little ones can see Elmo and Bert and Ernie mess around with letter and numbers.

    This comment was brought to you by the letters N and O and the number $0.00


  17. Arteeestwho
    May 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    a big NO. Youtube is annoying enough with all those forced for you to watch video ads and Vevo for not making it view-able for Asian countries and now a monthly subscription to youtube pages? are you kidding me? I used to always watch videos on youtube but now I'm going to go for other video hosting alternatives there's tons out there. a lot more convenient than annoying youtube. For now few youtube pages requires monthly subscriptions and if it hits lots of people subscribed you'll see they'll make every youtube pages not anymore for free. XD

  18. Andrew Rossaak
    May 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I am prepared to pay for some things - like a webinar and the recording thereof - or a panel discussion on a topic allied with my work or hobby. This is not really done through you tube, but the individual websites.

    YouTube made its mark with free content. They did not provide the content, only the distribution and storage. Who benefits? What will the charges be for ?(one channel or many or all)? For new content or existing?

    In it's current form, I would not pay for YouTube.

    If it became a media library, I may pay for an online service like that.

  19. P.F. Bruns
    May 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    The best use of YouTube is as a test bed for performers and content makers to test new stuff. Putting up a paywall for that will kill it.

  20. Aaron Perkinson
    May 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    No. I'll look for it free elsewhere....

  21. Ken Long
    May 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I will never pay for YouTube content. If I'm presented with a pay wall, I'll simply do without that particular item. Pay for YouTube? No way.

  22. Joshua M
    May 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Watch for a YouTube competitor to rise from Google's fumbling.

  23. Elisabetta Scaggion
    May 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    No way, youtube must be remain free forever. Youtube doesn't exist if we must pay for it.

  24. Vishal Srivastava
    May 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

    There are many facets to this problem. If you ask a simple answer, I'd say no. Why pay for something that you're getting already for free. No one would do that, would they? And its not like that the people who post the videos can't make money. That's what the in video adds are for, and I've heard that some people make hundreds to thousands of dollars a day. On the other hand, if it was the only option (i.e. pay and watch), then I'd be in doubt. I may pay for it as most of my friends post videos there, and they may get the benefit of it. Lastly, comes the option that some videos are paid for and others are not. In that case, I can say, I'm not going to pay, at least not for all. If I know some video is very popular (something like Gangnam Style), I might pay to watch it but in general, it's a no. One thing Youtube has to develop for me to pay for any video is a Content Preview Scheme where I can watch a part of the video and if I like it, I pay to watch it entirely but otherwise, I can leave it.

  25. carie
    May 13, 2013 at 9:59 am

    What is not clear here is what sort of channels are we talking about? Also, to whom does this money go?

    If they have channels of professionally produced content where the proceeds are used to pay the producers and of course google can have a cut too, then provided the content is of a topic of interest to me, I would agree to pay, although I would prefer to pay for specific clips rather than a flat fee. Further to this, there must then be an option to download and keep the content as I have now paid for the right to watch it and should not have to pay in addition for bandwidth each time I wish to view. Additionally, these pay channels would have to be advert free.

    On the other hand, if I must now pay for either illegally copied movie content / music, or homemade drivel, then no I am not willing to pay.

    In addition, if the producers of good content are not getting a cut of proceeds, and all goes to google, I would also not pay.

  26. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    May 13, 2013 at 9:05 am

    No. While YouTube is a good service, the only channel I'm seriously interested in is 'one minute physics'. Most of the time I just fooling around watching AMVs and video game/software reviews, which will not be much to miss if I pull myself completely outta YouTube. So, nothing personal, but I won't pay because I don't use the service extensively. If they can convince people that the new paid subscription model would give something to video makers/channel owners, I'm sure more people would want to subscribe. Content is king. YouTube's content is user-generated. If they don't like the change, they can move to one of the many alternatives out there.

  27. Alan Wade
    May 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I voted No. Why? Because I think Google should stop messing with something that obviously already creates a lot of revenue through ads.
    If they continue to persue this line of thought then I believe that the already free options will capitalise on it and take the market share. I am suprised that they hav'nt asked us to pay eachtime they upgrade there sites and services.

    • Arron Walker
      May 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      The problem is Ad blockers, I am the only person I know who actually watches the adverts on youtube videos. Even then, I only do it on a handful of users. Even further, there are two I will actually refresh the page on if an advert doesn't show up to begin with.. but I'll only watch a minute ad at the absolute max.

      What I would like is a Youtube+, where you can access all the content if you don't pay, but there is a paid option for those who wish to remove ads without harming Googles revenue, or Youtubers revenue.

  28. GamE
    May 13, 2013 at 4:52 am

    YouTube and Adobe don't have a great deal in common, apart from being key players in the media-technology ecosystem. But their evolving strategies demonstrate a shift that more and more companies in the media and tech worlds see as a key part of their futures: subscriptions. They highlight the fundamental reality for everyone in this business and related ones: in a world where we are almost always online, change happens at an accelerating rate.

    First, YouTube: Google's huge video unit is planning to turn on its head, at least in a small way, the very basis of its existence until now. It's going to create subscription-based "channels" – that is, collections of content that it hopes people will pay for directly, as opposed to being supported by advertising.

    This should be surprising to no one. YouTube, which has turned itself into the default video upload-and-display site, has been experimenting with premium services based on advertising as a business model. This hasn't worked out well, so far, as Peter Kafka recently reported at All Things Digital. So it's a logical experiment to try a model that pay-video channels like HBO and, more recently, Netflix have done: getting people send money on a regular basis in return for content they don't mind supporting.

    For many video producers, YouTube could become a source of ancillary revenue, just as newspapers are trying to restore some of their lost (paper) subscriptions online via paywalls. Or, even better, this might become the first step in an overdue process of unbundling cable and satellite TV, which force customers to pay for all kinds of channels they don't want in order to get the ones they do watch.

    The obvious question is whether YouTube can offer anything people actually want to support this way, and whether creators of online content will see enough upside as well. I'd expect Google to pump some serious money into the operation, at least at the outset. But a generation of video watchers has become accustomed to YouTube as a free or ad-supported service. I'm agnostic, verging on skeptical, about the prospects, but I'm also glad to see this kind of experimentation.

    Likewise, I'm intrigued – and more skeptical – about Adobe's strategy shift. The company said it would stop selling almost all of its retail (boxed and downloaded) software, and move its major products – PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, AfterEffects and Dreamweaver – into a "cloud-based" model where customers would work in a blended desktop/online platform, for a monthly fee. What had been known as the "Creative Suite" will henceforth be called the "Creative Cloud" – a software platform that will require a broadband connection and will cost about $50 a month for individual users ($70 for corporate sites that need administrative tools), and $20 a month for a single application.

    For people who absolutely must use these products and routinely upgrade to the latest versions, $600 a year will be a good deal. But I wonder what people who've been doing fine with older versions of Adobe's desktop software will decide when it becomes necessary to upgrade. My bet is that a lot of them will look for alternatives.

    As a Linux user my options have always been more limited, since Adobe treats Linux like a poor stepchild, at best.) Meanwhile, LifeHacker helpfully suggests ways to "build your own adobe creative suite with free and cheap software." Again, for some Adobe users, there are no serious alternatives to the originals; for the rest of us, there are plenty.

    Adobe's move isn't unique, of course. Gaming companies have been trying to urge, if not coerce, their players into hybrid systems for several years now. Microsoft, the king of desktop software, has taken increasingly big steps in this direction, most recently with its Office 365 product, though it still offers basic desktop versions.

    This can go both ways; Google's online office competitor, Google Docs, can run offline. Everyone is encroaching on everyone else, trying everything to see what will work – and this will only accelerate.

    • Yaara Lancet
      May 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to write this analysis, very informative!

  29. nuncauno
    May 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    At this time, there is nothing on YouTube worth a subscription, IMHO. I enjoy taking a mind trip listening to the music of the 50's and 60's, I have heard some true memory makers. But I will not pay. I don't have cable/sat TV, OTA and internet only. I suspect something free will replace YouTube if Google should take it subscription only.

  30. Austin Beatty
    May 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I would gladly pay for premium content, if I can't get it elsewhere for free, and if it's reasonably priced. Like, if ESPN offered live games through Youtube for $5 to $10 (rather than having to get cable) a month, I'd gladly pay that, or if Discovery or History channel had all their shows for a few bucks a month. I look at it more like a Netflix replacement than traditional videos. For most traditional Youtube channels, I can't see this working well, although there are certainly some channels that I would gladly pay for, but I just disable AdBlock on Youtube to support the creators instead.

  31. likefunbutnot
    May 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I would, yes. Youtube content has value and I already make wide use of channels and subscriptions. I want the individuals who are responsible for the work I enjoy to continue production.

    I have in fact directly contributed to my favorite content producers already, either with Paypal donations or merch purchases. Since I'm an unapologetic ad-blocker, direct support is the only option that's really open to me.

    None of the current for-pay channels are all that interesting to me and I'm far less interested in supporting the Google service than the individuals, but there is plenty of Youtube content that is far more deserving of my money and attention than anything that's presently on broadcast or cable TV.

  32. Graham Richardson
    May 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    As always in this, content is king. I can easily spend many hours looking through YouTube videos for free but would be willing to pay a small fee for a channel if it gave me lots of videos I cant get elsewhere and they were at a guaranteed high quality. It would take a lot for me to be persuaded though when there is so much stuff out there.

  33. ReadandShare
    May 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm


  34. Andrea
    May 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    It all depends on the content and if it interests me and/or if it's something not widely available everywhere else. I think it's probably similar to all the other paid streaming services, so if the price is right, and the content is appealing, I might.

  35. Zhong J
    May 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Imagine the consequences of having a paid subscription fee for every Youtube subsequence, nobody would use it much less watch any "pay-per-view" videos because the internet is quintessential matter on getting access on the most trivial routine: watching, reading, posting..etc. Google, most reputable for open source tools will be conflicting its mission on providing user the essentials and switching to hunt down profit from their loyal individuals would jeopardize their image.

    May 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    No, certainly not. I'll do that only if allowed to legally download the videos also, otherwise look for some other free option. After all internet is more about free stuff. One more thing, videos on you tube are not produce by Google itself but uploaded by it's users, so there is always a chance of finding an alternative. I have found alternatives of iGoogle and Google reader.

  37. David Moreira
    May 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    No way! I would just search for alternatives for whatever I wanted.

  38. Ben Wilson
    May 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Absolutely not. I stopped watching traditional satellite / cable TV years ago, because I liked the wider options YouTube had to offer. I could watch dozens of short clips that were more to my interest in the time I saw a single TV episode that I may or may not have enjoyed in the first place.

    I've always been someone for free alternatives, and though I understand Google is simply trying to make a little money off YouTube, I wouldn't pay for any of those channels. Simple as that. Almost all of the channels I do watch are small-time, so I probably wouldn't be too affected by it, anyway.

    On the extreme that YouTube's ads and paid subscriptions and such got out of hand, I have a feeling another video hosting site would gain in popularity.