New updates are added at the bottom of the story…
The original story (as of March 20) follows:
YouTube allows users to opt out of the often obnoxious ads that are interspersed between videos by subscribing to the Premium version at $11.99 per month.
Of course, some have no problem paying this amount, especially since it also accompanies lots of other benefits which include background playback, access to YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Original series and movies.
But the most recent figures published by Google suggest that only a fraction of YouTube’s entire active user base has a Premium subscription.
Perhaps the $11.99 price puts potential subscribers off, especially since not everyone is interested in all the ads that come with YouTube Premium. Some just want an ad-free viewing environment.
Another potential reason for low subscription numbers is the availability of YouTube Premium. Although currently available in most major markets, the service has yet to penetrate all world markets.
This means that even if you wanted to subscribe, there’s not much you can do other than wait for Google to officially make the service available in your region. This is where YouTube Vanced comes in handy, giving Android users an ad-free viewing environment for free.
YouTube Vanced was designed for those who don’t want to subscribe to YouTube Premium. For the most part, all they want is to get rid of annoying ads. None of the other things that Google includes in a YouTube Premium plan are of interest to them.
Also, with this app, those in unsupported regions can enjoy some of the cool features of YouTube Premium without having to part with $11.99 per month. However, since this meant Google was losing potential revenue, it was never going to last.
As I write this, YouTube Vanced has been discontinued for legal reasons. There’s no clarity as to what happened, but with Google involved, it’s easy to see why the search giant had to make this move.
With Vanced gone, those who aren’t interested in the other benefits of YouTube Premium and live in supported regions will be forced to subscribe to the service to enjoy ad-free videos.
For those in unsupported regions, they have no choice but to live with the ad version until Google feels generous enough to extend Premium support to their market. Fortunately, the Vanced team says that the currently installed versions will remain functional for a few more years.
The currently installed versions will work just fine, until they become obsolete in about 2 years.
I don’t know why Google hasn’t rolled out YouTube Premium to all markets, but I’d like to believe it’s something in the works.
As mentioned earlier, pricing could be one of the reasons why YouTube Premium subscription numbers don’t measure up to other video/music streaming services. And it looks like Google has come up with a plan to address this concern.
Last year, Google started testing a lighter version YouTube Premium in certain European markets. The plan was priced at $6.99 per month, about half the normal price.
A YouTube spokesperson disclosed for The edge that YouTube Premium Lite would come with limited features. Subscribers can enjoy ad-free videos on the web, Android, iOS, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even YouTube Kids.
However, the Premium Lite package would exclude background playback, offline downloads, and YouTube Music Premium benefits. I could certainly live without the latter two, but missing the background playback is a bummer.
For some reason, however, we’ve seen little to no development since, and no one knows if Google still intends to continue with YouTube Premium Lite or not.
But now that YouTube Vanced (a product that hampered Google’s efforts to monetize YouTube for around half a decade) has been discontinued, it might be time to push the plans forward with Premium Lite.
Some people wouldn’t mind paying for ad-free viewing, especially at around half the price. YouTube has a chance of catching those hesitant to pay full price, though it’s fine if the plan includes background playback.
The company may also focus on expanding the Lite service to other regions where potential subscribers would likely have been put off by the full package price. But again, not much is known about the future of YouTube Premium Lite.
It will be interesting to see how veteran Vanced users handle this situation, but it will be even more interesting to see how Google takes advantage of discontinued Vanced.
Let us know your thoughts on Vanced’s discontinuation and the potential for YouTube Premium Lite via the comments section below.
[POLL] Would you like to subscribe to YouTube Premium Lite at $6.99 per month for videos without ads, but without playing in the background?
Vote below and read our review here: https://t.co/FZ5vUqxoL3
— PiunikaWeb (@PiunikaWeb) March 20, 2022
Update 1 (March 27)
Survey results are outwith an overwhelming majority (over 83%) saying they won’t subscribe to YouTube Premium Lite at $6.99 per month for ad-free videos but no background playback.
In case you missed the poll, we still invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
PiunikaWeb began as a purely investigative tech journalism website with a primary focus on “breaking” or “exclusive” news. In no time, our stories were picked up by Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors and many more. Would you like to know more about us? Head here.