For some, it was a slow start, but for Google, things seem to be doing pretty well on YouTube Premium. The company’s premium membership for its video streaming service reached 80 million users in 2022. In light of that milestone, the search giant promised to invest more in its portfolio by 2023. The surprise is that part of that investment seems to be to convince users of the free tier to migrate to the YouTube Premium service. The company seems to be cracking down on adblockers by offering YouTube Premium membership. Now that the company is detecting those adblockers, it will be just a matter of time until it finds a way to make them unusable.
Is this the start of a holy war against ad blockers?
As per one Redditor, while using YouTube, he found a popup informing that “Ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube”. The message offered a button to “Allow YouTube ads” in the person’s ad-blocking software and went on to explain that ads make the service free for billion of users. It proceeds by offering YouTube Premium as an ad-free experience. In fact, the popup even had a button to easily sign up for a YouTube Premium membership.
The moderators from YouTube’s subreddit got a response from YouTube. The Team is responsible for the service stating that the popup is real. It’s part of an experiment that the company is running. Right now, the experiment seems to be limited but is a good sample that, yes, Google will crack down on Adblockers.
Worth noting, however, that we don’t know if this will be a definitive end to the use of ad blockers on YouTube. After all, this is some sort of “cat and rat” quest. While Google tries to develop ways to detect and crack down on them, the developers of such extensions will also work and find new ways to bypass the detection. Unless the search giant finds a very efficient way to block them.
Gizchina News of the week
Google has been on a long road trying to prevent the use of ad blockers. The firm banned ad-blocking apps from the Play Store way back in 2016. It has also been implementing changes in Chrome that could bring an end to ad block extensions in the near future. Although this seems tempting for conspiracy theorists, not all ad blockers have been efficient against YouTube’s ads. So, perhaps, this is more to recommend YouTube Premium rather than blocking ad blocks. Anyway, this seems to be a trend for the future.
The death of YouTube Vanced was only the beginning
One thing is clear – Google does not want a YouTube Premium experience for those who aren’t subscribers. The company built its premium plan around the ad-free experience, and around other neat features like background playback, video download, and screen-off playback. Last year, the company managed to kill YouTube Vanced. It was a popular YouTube mode capable of offering all those features to users. There are some alternatives, for sure, but the time is always ticking for most of them. The company did with YouTube Vanced, and could easily do the same thing with any other alternative that emerge.
We will see if that experiment will see a wider rollout in the coming days. Right now, the Premium plan is available for about $12 in markets like the United States. Besides the single subscription plan, the company also offers a family bundle. You pay more but can share the subscription with more family members. Besides video streaming, one subscription also gives access to YouTube Music, which is basically the company’s take on the likes of Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music.
Back in the last month, the company announced a series of new features to improve the YouTube Premium experience. Let’s see if more will come soon.