Google just can’t stop doing two similar things at once. It’s just a big company it seemingly can’t help itself. Real quick, explain the difference between YouTube Red and YouTube TV and YouTube Premium. You may be able to. In fact, if you are a techie that follows this space closely I’m sure you can. But for the average person who thinks of YouTube as the place to see that viral video everyone is talking about they can come off as an indistinguishable mess. Why The name and branding.
Recently I had a conversation with someone about setting up cable and internet at their home. They were transitioning from ATT U-Vervse. After I explained that they would soon be getting TV and internet from Charter Spectrum the conversation fell into a hole concerning how dumping U-Verse would affect her Cell phone service. And how it would affect using a home network and so on. WHy? Because her cell phone is on AT&T. So it all seemed kind of related even though it was not.
Another example. I meet people all the time who think they have HBO Now, the $15.00 service from HBO. But they don’t, they have HBO through their cable service and use HBO Go. Again, these people are not rubes, they just are not paying close enough attention to the branding. But here is the thing. If you have to look at the fine print to understand what the heck a product it, the branding has failed. It’s like having to explain a joke after the fact by explaining a series of relationships based on something else. It just leaves the person more confused than when you started.
YouTube should decide on one message and stick with it. For the record, YouTube Red will not exist as a branded service moving forward. The service is being rebranded as YouTube Premium and will operate as an 11.99 service that provides an ad-free Spotify style music service, allows users to watch YouTube videos without any ads, Allow for downloading video content on the go and provide access to YouTube’s small collection of original programming. On the other hand, YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service akin to Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. It provides a skinny bundle of channels through a seperate YouTube TV app. It costs $40.00 per month. YouTube TV users also get access to YouTube Red original programming but do not get to watch YouTube without ads.
So one is like enhanced YouTube with a music service built in and access to a small collection of original programs and the other is a skinny bundle with access to a small collection of original programs but no perks for YouTube’s more well-known services. YouTube Red launched before YouTube TV and it appears for now with the rebrand that the company wants to keep it going, but wouldn’t it be far easier to fold all of the services together and just call the who thing YouTube TV?
I would be very surprised to see YouTube Premium take off. Not because of its value proposition, but more because it is probably going to get lost in the shuffle. Even more YouTube even has a music service not connected with YouTube Premium just called YouTube Music. For 2 dollars less you get all the music and none of the other perks.
Google should take a page from Amazon and offer a music service, with Live TV, original on-demand programming, and ad Free YouTube access. It could work the way Prime does for Amazon Fire TV users who get access to Amazon Music, cloud photos and video, and tons of on-demand originals along with a metric ton of content from other partners. It’s all about the user experiance and for a company with the most popular browser, and the most popular streaming platform by far its surprising to see they don’t get that.