YouTube is going to be making some pretty big changes this year. All signs are pointing to YouTube creating multiple paid tiers of service that would include paying for an ad free music experience as well as a separate ad free experience for other non-music videos. In all honesty, I understand why YouTube would want to do this. Getting money from their users would go a long way towards making YouTube profitable. Also giving users the option for ad free viewing would make a lot of the advertising haters happy. It seems like a win win.

I do wonder how they are going to sell users on an ad free YouTube. Today you can just install something like AdBlock Plus on your browser and get this experience today. How will they drive users to pay for something they can get free today? My guess is that they are going to change the way the ads are served so that plugins like AdBlock Plus cannot tell the difference between an advertisement and the video the user wants to watch.

I also believe that YouTube will begin putting in multiple preroll advertisements as well as interrupting longer videos with an advertising break. The goal here being to annoy the users into paying for the ad free service. Let’s face it. Where else will people go for watching videos online? Vimeo and DailyMotion seem like they would be good contenders, but they have nowhere near the market penetration that YouTube does. I also believe it would be difficult for the content creators to move to another video website without hurting their viewership numbers.

The question YouTube has to ask itself at the end of the day is if people are willing to pay for something that they have gotten for free for a very long time. Personally, I would be willing to throw a few dollars for an ad free YouTube pending they make the following changes:

  • YouTube must make the payouts for the video creators more equatable. Right now the video creators have had to resort to getting third party advertisements in order to make a living. Giving them a larger chunk of the pie would give everyone a better overall experience (and let’s face it - We all know what SquareSpace is at this point). They have to do this because if people are going to buy into an ad free YouTube, they are going to expect that all the videos be ad free. Not just free of YouTube advertisements.

  • The interface of YouTube needs to change to be more orientated towards channel subscriptions. When I subscribe to a channel, I do so because I want to know everything that it posts in a clear and concise manner. Right now they are just thrown over on the left and if you have more than 7 subscriptions you have to view them in a flyout menu. What I want is something more like a podcatcher. A list of new videos from the channels I like.

  • Mark As Played. I cannot believe that this is something I have to insist on in 2015. YouTube cannot accurately mark a video as played once I have watched it. Furthermore, if there is a video that I want to skip, there is no way to mark it as played in YouTube.

  • The ability to download videos over WiFi so that I can watch them without spending a small fortune on mobile bandwidth. I have heard that this will be part of the paid tiers, but this is a requirement for me if you want my money.

In the end, I think that this change will cause YouTube to lose some of their visitors, but ultimately will help get them to a profitable place.