P-YAN Reviews — YouTube Premium (UK)

So 3 months ago I got a notification that I could trial YouTube Premium for 3 months. I think this is what was formally known as YouTube Red in USA , and its now available in the UK.

I know my YouTube use is pretty high, I prefer it over watching TV. These days any specific TV shows I wanna watch will be online. It was quite shocking to see the time I have spent on YouTube, but it makes sense since we’re all moving towards a 100% online medium instead. For me I have specific interests in gaming, cooking, coding and misc stuff, so YouTube is great for me.

So I thought it would be a good chance to check this out, and see whether its worth it. #ProTip — Set a reminder to stop forgetting to leave the free trial once it is over;

Always forget that I have this useful app!

How Good Are The Features?

Ad Free Zone

It is interesting that one of the biggest ‘features’ of most apps is to pay for an ad free zone. It kinda plays into the fact that we hate ads, but we know that businesses need them. Whether this is true or not, it is a common business model. Poor advertiser creators, their work gets treated like spam emails and they get as much respect as a traffic warden handing out parking tickets…

Either way, if you haven’t been living under a rock there’s something called Ad-block out there which kinda does what this feature does for free. Only the non-techhy casual users and/or supporters of content creators that deliberately want to support their revenues wont use ad-block.

As far as if you didn’t use a blocker, its hard to say how useful this is. Most ads are skippable after five seconds, and even if there’s a longer ad most ppl would find something else to do, look at another page or go to get a drink or something. Are ads as annoying as people think? Like pay to get rid of it annoying? Its hard to say…

Usefulness Rating: 2.5/5 — A lot of ad blocker users out there anyways, and ads aren’t as annoying or long as tv ones…

Background Playing

This actually is a pretty good feature to have imo. There are so many times where I wanna listen to obscure game soundtracks or podcasts and having to keep the app open is really annoying.

YouTube revolutionised the access content creators could use their platform. It was all about ease of use, ease of sharing… and so with that philosophy this feature fits into that model and surprised me that it was not in it in the first place.

Seems they went out of their way to hold back on it, and most likely even added code to make sure no third party apps could hack it and make it work. If an app did that, they would make a lot of money.

Usefulness Rating: 4/5 — Much wanted feature, especially for listening to music and podcasts.

Video Download

For these reviews, I think its important to remember that its bad to generalise what is best for everyone because every is different with different needs and different tastes.

So in this instance, downloading content to your phone is only going to be a great feature if you are someone that spends a lot of time commuting or travelling where there is no wifi. Or maybe you don’t have a 4G contract on your phone, so could download stuff at home first and then watch it when travelling on the train.

Extra option in dropdown menu

I commute to work via the London underground so this feature for me is great. I love the fact that I can click download and have it do it in the background at home, then during my commutes have the video ready for me.

New downloads section in library tab

Unlike the background playing, this makes sense to have as a feature to pay for. Not everyone will find it as useful for them, and it caters for the heavy users.

Maybe they could extend this feature with automatic custom downloads when certain subscribers release new content? A kinda YouTube Tivo…

Usefulness Rating: 5/5 — A commuter’s dream! I’d pay for this feature… but not *that* much!

YouTube Premium Content Exclusives

Interestingly enough this is at the bottom of their feature list too. No ones really rates it and maybe they don’t rate it highly as well.

This is allowing access to certain YouTube exclusive shows made by well known content creators.

Recently I have been getting into the British mechanic Colin Furze and his crazy machines

However for some unknown reason it seems it is pretty difficult and confusing to find this content. There’s no tab for Premium content, and when you click on ‘TV Shows and Movies” it just shows payable content?

YouTube premium content is nowhere to be seen?

YouTube is also starting to buy exclusivity on TV shows like Netflix is. So far the reviews have been that the shows haven’t been that good.

Things are starting to take turn with two shows Impulse and Cobra Kai picking up steam with good ratings being part of the YouTube Originals brand. It will be interesting to see how far this goes with YouTube investing money into picking up shows, but like Netflix it really can work out well if done correctly.

But it doesn’t have to be said that its a no brainer that you have to make it easy for your content to be easily found by its users. Not once as a premium user I have found any sort of promotion of their titles or made it stand out to me.

Usefulness Rating: 1/5 — Potential, but needs better promotion and better shows.


One thing is apparent to me with YouTube that its just a bit all over the place. It just is too big and trying to do too many things. This makes it difficult for them to successfully brand themselves. There are 4 categories that I can see, and a clear separation of these brands are needed imo.

YouTube… User Content? — Not really sure what to call this, but basically the original YouTube where people look up anything, subscribe and watch content. At least this should have its own section separated from the other brands from a user interface perspective.

YouTube Music (Spotify Style Content)— Allowing users to listen to songs and watch music videos, upload their own stuff, and create mixes. Maybe create a separate app for listening only?

YouTube Live (Twitch.tv Style Content) — Live shows, podcasts, sport, events and gaming streaming should have its own section.

YouTube Originals (Netflix Style Content) — All films, shows and their own YouTube Original content be put here.

The fact that these are all mushed together makes things very difficult to promote. All their content is merged together and right now you can only find what you want if you know what it is specifically.

Final Thoughts — Its Not Good Value

Right now in the UK you can get Netflix for £6 per month. So in comparison, charging £12 is just crazy. For a service offers less premium content, you effectively are just paying for two useful features, background playing and download. It really does blow my mind how they came to this price point, especially considering how many users use their site that could be converted into paying customers.

Also, I’m rather confused because in my account section it gives an even more insane price of £16? After some research I discovered that because I bought the trial through iTunes, its £4 more! 25% increase! What on earth…?

Billing through iTunes is 25% more expensive then their already expensive price!

What was interesting was in the first month or so when I wasn’t commuting so much I really didn’t use the features that much. It just shows that it really depends on your situation on whether this is useful or not.

Overall I think if it was £5 I’d probably go for it since I am a heavy user that commutes every weekday. But for their price it really is wishful thinking. YouTube Red was already out for some time in USA, and with the stats they gathered they still thought that this price point is a good one? Strange.

Have a great week everyone, I’m off to unsubscribe! Damn I’m gonna miss that download feature…

P-YAN Reviews — YouTube Premium (UK) was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
09/09/2018 - 21:04

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