YouTube Premium has gotten pricier in the US, with new subscribers to the service now having to pay $13.99 a month rather than $11.99 – and if you pay via the iOS app the subscription is now $18.99 per month (likely to counteract the cut Apple takes).
An annual subscription is going up to $139.99, an increase of $20, but you will at least save $27.89 compared to paying monthly for Premium. The Family plan is unchanged at $22.99 per month.
What’s worse, the service doesn't look to be getting any better – your subscription still only lets you watch videos without adverts, download videos for offline viewing, watch videos at 1080p Premium quality, and gives you access to YouTube Music Premium (along with a handful of other benefits).
YouTube hasn’t announced the price hike officially yet, and it appears the change is only affecting new subscribers – at least for now. Per Google’s own terms, it’s meant to provide a minimum of 30 days warning before a price change, so current subscribers should still be able to pay the old rate for at least another month or so.
The price hike also doesn’t seem to be affecting other regions – UK users are still only being charged £11.99 for Premium – but it might not be long before we see the price go up in regions outside the US.
Premium – the only YouTube-approved ad blocker
The YouTube Premium price increase comes as YouTube is increasing its efforts to crack down on ad blockers, and becoming more intrusive with its ads. Ad blockers are browser extensions and programs that hide internet adverts – including the ones that run during YouTube videos.
While many argue that ad blockers improve a user’s experience of YouTube, the site doesn't want you to use them, because if you aren’t seeing adverts YouTube won’t get paid by advertisers – and content creators won’t earn ad revenue from views if an ad blocker is used.
Previously, YouTube just shook its fist at ad blockers, but now it has a three-strikes and you’re out policy. Now, when watching YouTube with an ad blocker, you’ll see a popup telling you that you can watch up to three videos with the blocker on, but to watch more you’ll need to turn it off, or subscribe to YouTube Premium.
By making it harder to avoid adverts, and making them more annoying, YouTube is likely hoping you’ll decide to finally pay up for Premium. This price hike appears to undercut that strategy, however, as people who've gotten fed up with ads, and have decided to bite the bullet and sign up, could be put off again by the higher cost. We’ll have to wait and see how the decision plays out.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.