Business News Digital

YouTube confirms that it only plans to “frustrate” some people with adverts

By | Published on Friday 23 March 2018

YouTube

Responding to various reports this week about its future plans, YouTube has said that it will not be increasing the number of adverts most people see on the platform.

The ad-increase chatter¬†originated in an interview with YouTube’s Global Head Of Music Lyor Cohen¬†at SXSW. He said that users of the video platform who play large amounts of music would be served more adverts. This would be an attempt to “frustrate and seduce” them into signing up for the new paid subscription music service YouTube is plotting.

But the key thing there, YouTube now highights, is that this new policy will only apply to those using the platform as if it was a music service, not those who dip in to watch the odd Katy Perry video and then another of a cat falling off a hedge.

“Our top priority at YouTube is to deliver a great user experience and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads”, says a YouTube spokesperson. “We do not seek to specifically increase ad loads across YouTube”. However, “for a specific subset of users who use YouTube like a paid music service today – and would benefit most from additional features – we may show more ads or promotional prompts to upsell to our paid service”.

So, for those using the platform mainly for free music, it does seem that YouTube is planning to follow the lead of other freemium-to-sell-premium music services, principally Spotify, in hoping that the annoying ads will persuade people to ultimately pay to stream. Which is to say, that users will eventually throw their arms up in exasperation and pay a monthly fee to avoid hearing what all these companies have to say.

There is a problem with this approach though, and especially being so upfront about it. True, premium streaming is way more lucrative than free streaming, so it makes sense to upsell the former wherever possible. However, there is sizable part of the market who will never pay to stream, and with that audience the aim is to simply persuade more brands to get on board. Cohen himself has said that the potential of ad income has yet to be fully realised, and in its recent SEC filing Spotify talked up further growing the ad sales side of its business.

Openly employing ads to try to annoy free subscribers to become paying subscribers makes for an interesting pitch to ad agencies. Adverts are annoying, it’s true. And all companies who place adverts are evil and should be shut down. But it doesn’t seem particularly helpful to go around saying that when your business relies, even in part, on that income. If you’re a CMU advertiser, please disregard this last paragraph.



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