YouTube's New Premium, Ad-Free Service Is Now Available In Australia

Update: There have been reports of issues with the sign up process. YouTube have been contacted and we will update as soon as there is more information. In the meantime, signing up to Google Play Music can be used as an alternate way to gain access.

Available in the US since November 2015, YouTube Red is YouTube's premium paid ad-free service with original platform-funded content and offline access — and it is launching in Australia today.

Not content with just one launch, YouTube are taking it a step further and releasing its dedicated YouTube Music app, too. Taking advantage of the huge amount of music content already on YouTube, the app is designed to make discovering, watching, and listening to it easier. Here's everything you need to know.

With 28 Australian channels with over one million subscribers, and a more global audience (90 per cent of our content is watched overseas) than any other region, Gautam Anand, Director of YouTube Content and Operations, Asia Pacific told Gizmodo it was a logical choice for Australia to be the first region out of the US to launch YouTube Red.

"There are more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, so we want to make it easier for you to find your favourite videos and give you more choice about how you watch them," Anand said.

YouTube Red membership will ordinarily set you back $11.99 per month, but there's an introductory offer of $9.99 per month — with the first month free — if you sign up before 6 June. Signing up via iOS will cost $12.99 per month if you sign up before 6 June, and $14.99 if you sign up afterwards.

"The lion's share" of the membership fee goes to the creators, just like with YouTube advertising revenue, Anand told Gizmodo.

So what do you get for the money? Your membership is valid on any device and across all YouTube services — including the newly launched YouTube Gaming app.

Ad-Free and Offline

No more pop-up ads, pre-roll ads or any other kind of ad for the matter. You're paying for a premium service to get rid of all of that, after all.

You can also save any content to watch offline — perfect for flights, remote regions with dodgy service or even just if you're watching your data usage.

Background Play

Have you ever been watching a YouTube video, only to get a message and the video stops as soon as you check it? Some content lends itself to being "background" noise — music, podcasts, reality shows. YouTube Red lets you play videos in the background while you do other things on your phone or tablet. including lock the screen.

"It's all about multi-tasking," Anand explains. "You can be watching a video, but still access other apps."

Original Content

Membership gains you access to YouTube-funded original content. There are currently 10 shows available, so don't consider this part of the service to become a Netflix rival anytime soon. Working with creators like Rooster Teeth on projects like Lazer Team, Anand assures what is on offer at present is "just the beginning", with more programming to be added throughout the year.

"This is just another way that we can support creators, and help them get to the next level," he said. Plans with local content creators for original programming can't be revealed at this time, but it is something that YouTube are "looking into."

YouTube Music

"There's a lot of music on YouTube," T Jay Fowler, Product Management Director of Music at YouTube told Gizmodo. "Music videos, tracks, artists, albums, remixes, covers, lyric videos, and concert footage — the new app simply makes it easier to find, organise, listen to offline and discover new content."

By taking the route of simply "rearranging" content for users, as opposed to creating a streaming service from scratch, YouTube have avoided the need to renegotiate payment deals with artists, but Fowler reiterates that "creators get the majority of the revenue raised from content hosted on YouTube".

Remember YouTube MusicKey? The beta was run as an exclusive, invite only program that YouTube ultimately used to research what people really want from a music app. A couple of things were discovered.

For starters, music listeners on YouTube consume more content on the site overall. We not watch and listen to music videos, but a wide range of other types of content, too. We are multi-taskers. Secondly, we want easy to find premium content — official videos, not just covers. And lastly, we want to keep an eye on data and battery usage, conserving it where possible.

Skip to 1:15 in the video above to see the app in action

YouTube Red members also gain the ability to listen to music without ads, play videos offline, and easily switch between video or audio-only. You'll get background playing, meaning you'll be able to continue playing the video, even when you're in another app or have your screen turned off.

You'll also get your own personal station with recommendations based on your tastes. There's a broader, long form station as well as genre-based stations that are a bit more narrow. You can control the variety with a special "slider" and give a thumbs up to content you particularly like — which gets added to its own station for easy access later on.

There's also trending lists with the most popular music on YouTube each day.

The YouTube Music app will also automatically create an offline mixtape for you, and YouTube Red membership automatically gives you premium membership to Google Play Music, too.

Although you can access YouTube Red via the regular YouTube app and desktop site as well as the dedicated iOS and Android versions apps, the vanilla version of YouTube is still there — along with YouTube Kids, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Music apps, free of charge.

"We're just giving you more choice about how you watch YouTube," Anand said. "Soon, we hope you’ll be watching what you want, when you want, on any device you want, uninterrupted."


Comments

    Background play as part of the paid version? Piss off, Youtube. The most requested, basic feature for the App, and you hide it behind a subscription? What an absolute disregard for the consumer.

      If you're using YouTube on a new iPad device, you can split screen it which doesn't hurt as much for productivity wise, but in saying that, I can see your frustration.

        It personally doesn't affect me. I use Spotify, or my own music collection for music on my phone (Which can also do the split screen thing). It's just such a blatant cash grab for what has long been the most requested feature for the app. I can open Youtube in a separate browser tab and let it play while I do other stuff, so why would I not expect a similar function from the app?

          I know what you mean. Easy way for them to make a few extra dollars they don't really need.

          It's not a cash grab if you already use Google Play Music... They dropped the price of my subscription AND i get more value...

          Dont be sour grapes

            I don't use Google Play Music. And we were complaining about the locked feature (audio in background) only being available to paid users.

              And you will notice I was referring to Vapor

              I know what you're referring to and it has been annoying in the past but I just got around it. If you dont like it, dont pay for it, but if you havent tried google play music then try them both out for a month. Its worth $10 just for google play music imo

                The point I'm trying to get at is that you shouldn't have to find a way around, or install a third party app, or pay a premium for what should be a basic function (That was even in the app originally!).

                I agree with you on the don't like it, don't pay for it stance. I don't, so I won't. YouTubeRed is nice in the sense of ad free, and helping support content creators you like, and including the Google Play Music sub is pretty good too. But I've already got a solid music collection of my own, and Spotify to fill out some gaps, so GPM is a non issue on my end.

                I'm just genuinely puzzled by the decision to keep a majorly requested feature out of consumers hands. Maybe I'm the one who's out of touch, but to me, you take care of your customers, and they'll take care of you. You don't treat them like walking, talking wallets.

                  I honestly dont know the difference between youtubered and normal youtube...

                  I havent noticed any change at all. apart from ads maybe but they dont seem to bother me anyway.

      You can background play without using the app at all. If you browse to m.youtube.com and start a video, most phones will play the MP4 stream with their built-in media player app, which you can un-pause after switching away to the home screen. Also there are heaps of third-party Youtube apps that do background play. It's a non issue.

        I'm just annoyed because that's basic functionality that's being held back. One shouldn't have to install a third party app, or pay a premium, to perform such a task.

      From the same school of thought that locks Modern Warfare remaster behind COD Space Adventures!

    You need to change the pricing in the article. The Aussie price is $14.99 a month with a special offer of $12.99 and free month if signed up by June 6th.

      Are you sure about that?
      Because this is the pricing I'm seeing
      $11.99 - $9.99/month 1-month free trial
      Special intro offer – Ends 6 June 2016

      And if I try and signup it does this

      31-day free trial
      Billing starts Jun 17, 2016
      A$9.99/month

      Last edited 18/05/16 9:43 am

        I just checked it on the YouTube app on my iPhone. Has $14.99 a month and special offer is $12.99 a month. I haven't signed up, so pricing. Could change, but from what the Australian YouTube app says, my pricing it correct by it.

          Then for some reason you're getting charged a higher amount

          http://imgur.com/CP8FBN0

            Haha I must be getting screwed.

              Maybe signing up via the iOS app bills you via Apple's system, so they've increased the price to take into account Apple's cut?

              Presumably if you sign up outside of the app you can still take advantage within the app though.

                It appears that may be the case. I'll check it out on my laptop after work. Can't believe they actually have Apple's fee factored in. Such a joke.

                  Well, Apple requires all in-app purchases on iOS to go through them, and that incurs a 30% charge, which is quite a bit higher higher than what it would cost Google to process the transactions. So they essentially had three choices:

                  1. Don't tell iOS users how they can sign up to the service from within the app.

                  2. Keep the price the same as direct subscriptions but pay the content creators less when videos are viewed by Apple users.

                  3. Pass on the cost of Apple's fee to the consumer.

                  It doesn't seem that different from bricks and mortar retail stores charging extra for people who choose to use American Express or Diners Club for payment.

      I just updated the article with what's happening there. That's the iOS pricing, I'm afraid. Apple take their cut, and developers pass on the price increase.

      Access via other means is the original $9.99/$11.99.

        Thanks for the update. I'll check it when I get home on my laptop. Damn apple on their cut.

      I just updated the article with what's happening there. That's the iOS pricing, I'm afraid. Apple take their cut, and developers pass on the price increase.

      Access via other means is the original $9.99/$11.99.

        Hey, I suggest including the family subscription in your prices. It's a great deal.

      I got an email about my google play music account being dropped to 9.99 and including youtube red so you got something wrong there...

    Gogo Adblock/Ublock/etc

      Sure, for people of loose moral fibre. YouTubeRed ensures creators still get paid.

        ahahhaaha

        thanks i needed that... loose moral fibre...

    I forget the exact story, but there was an issue at Youtube Red's launch on the Pocket Gamer UK wesbite regarding some Android game I think.

    Youtube Red's terms and conditions (ie new agreements) have to be reviewed by the relevant parties that take ownership/licensing of the content featured, as I understood it at the time.

    The site's video person/team was forbidden by the IP holder (the game dev/etc) from showing footage of the game in certain countries. That itself isn't quite true, Youtube Red's T&C's were still being read and understood (yet to be agreed to) by the relevant parties in that/those particular country/countries.

    I'm going to stop before I confuse myself or others any more, but my point is Youtube Red's new and innovative service has introduced region-locking into the world of content-creation. 'This video is not available in your country, sorry about that' has always been a thing, but not in regards to the Jim Sterling/Pewdiepie/etc set.

    Incidentally it seems Pocket Gamer UK is down for me.

    The main positive with YouTube red is I'll no longer hear about how cool Lootcrate is, or squarespace. I mean, how will they make money now?!?

      Lootcrate ads are part of the video so unless the content creators offer alternate edits of the videos for YouTube Red subscribers you're stuck with them.

        Personally now, I think that if YouTube Red is available world wide, YouTube should tell their creators to tone down on the ads per video. I mean if I'm pay for YouTube Red and I don't get ads, I should have to have them in my videos either. They can't have it both ways.

        Either upload two seperate videos, one for paid and non-paid subscribers, or don't bother with the service.

      Oh man, for me it's wix, every fucking video wix wix wix......

    I don't get it. I've been using youtube ad-free and with offline play on my old outdated phone this whole time already.

    I still can't get over the similarities in name between Youtube Red and Redtube. It's the first thing internet users think of. They could have come up with anything else but they went with that

    Ill prob sign up so I can help support the channels I like with more than merch purchases. Plus the ability to lock my phones screen while listening to podcasts at work will be useful. That said, soundcloud lets me for it for free...

    Last edited 18/05/16 11:01 am

    Apparently it's (also?) bundled with Google Play Music. Just got an email from Google saying my Google Play sub was now cheaper (was previously $11.99/month) and included YouTube Red.

    I'm not sure if they're killing this benefit, but Google Play Music also used to include a 10% discount on all Google Play purchases.

      That is still the case. 10% off everything, and you get play music and YouTube Red on the one sub.

      Also, pro tip, Google play music has a family subscription. I think it's $15 a month or there abouts. So I have that providing play music/YouTube Red subs for me, my partner, my brothers and my dad. Pretty great value

        Yeah i was going to do that for the wife but she doesnt use it at all...

    Ill sign up, I just asked my favourite content producer (Scott Manly) on twitter if they get more/less/same money as what they do from the ads and he said they get more but there isnt much solid info so not 100% sure. As long as it doesnt screw the bottom line of the content producers than Im all for it.

    You also get access to Google Music as part of the cost so its not too bad really.

      The subs get split based on playtime/retention, from what I remember. Totalbiscuit, for example, reported he got something like 30% of his channel's revenue from Red subscriptions because his videos are routinely over 30 minutes, but that channels that produced lots of short videos - animators especially - were seeing little to no benefit from Red.

    So with 2mb of free add-on downloading in firefox I can watch youtube videos ad free and can download them at a variety of qualities without spending a cent. Granted this doesn't carry over to other devices but we live in Australia where having decent quota on a device is costly as hell.

      With YouTubeRed, you watch videos ad-free, but content creators still get paid.

        Third or fourth comment you've made about this. Hate to break it to you but most people simply do not care if they get paid or not. Right or wrong it is what it is and it's most likely not going to change.

        If the main draw of Youtube red is no ads then it's doomed to fail.

          No, I know they don't care, hence the "loose moral fibre" comment.

          FTR, I adblock. I just acknowledge that it makes me a shitty human being.

          And, I will be getting Youtube Red, because it gives the best of both worlds. Producers are remunerated for entertaining/informing me, I see no ads.

          Last edited 18/05/16 11:26 am

            This just made me realise that the red banner on here has disappeared, the one that would ask you to turn off adblock. Weird.

    The ability to play videos when you phone is locked. This used to be something I did a few years ago but now I can't. What gives?

    Sorry YouTube, for $10+ a month you've gotta give me more than removing ads and reintroducing removed features.

    But I've been subscribing to redtube for years... wait never mind.

    The sub is worth it alone for Google play music which is a great service. And you get discounts on Google play content. And now you get YouTube Red as well. Pretty great deal.

    The author should include the google play music family subscription in the pricing. I have it, think it's about $15 for 5 accounts. Includes YouTube Red as well.

    This is awesome :3

    This has nothing to do with red tube does it?

    You know what would be good - there's a whole cavalcade of old TV shows that don't turn up on any of the streaming services - rather than watching weak as poss original programming from pewdiepie why can't YouTube cut a deal to put all those shows that don't fit into the Netflix business model on the tube

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