YouTube has come a long way as a video sharing website. It’s a money making machine today, both for the company and its users. Users uploading videos on YouTube can earn revenue based on the number of views and ad clicks. Unquestionably the future is bright for video creators, not so much for viewers. Why?
Because viewers have to pay to watch videos on YouTube.
A recent thread on Reddit puts on display a screenshot of a YouTube clip on an iPhone, and this clip is not free to watch. The message “This video must be purchased to be viewed” appears on the screen and, needless to say, it quickly threw us into panic mode.
Can YouTube really charge a fee to its users? Probably Google already has a model in place? — say, for example, viewers should pay $1.99 every month to be able to access YouTube videos. That makes perfect sense if Google wants to pump more money out of YouTube, which wasn’t always profitable.
Then again, Google products have been free for years. Most of the company’s services are free to use. Can Google really shut down its freemium plans and go with a pay-to-watch model?
The good news, however, is that after trying to access the video shown in the screenshot above on multiple devices — on Windows, Mac and mobile phones — we weren’t able to replicate the message. So let’s breath a sigh of relief for now.
YouTube is probably experimenting with this feature and it will take several years, or yet another tough competitor, for YouTube to make such an unsolicited move. Also, let’s not forget that Google already makes money through inline video ads, which are already annoying.