If you are a customer of the YouTube Premium family plan and you live in the United States, you’re going to have to pay $5 more for the subscription. Beginning on November 21, that plan’s price hike is going into affect for Premium subscribers in multiple countries.
YouTube Premium offers several improvements for viewers, including ad-free videos and downloads for offline viewing. The family plan, which lets up to five individuals take advantage of these features, previously cost $17.99 per month in the U.S. That means the subscription will cost $22.99 per month beginning in November.
The price hike for YouTube Premium — which was renamed in 2018 after launching as YouTube Red in 2015 –will only affect the family plan. Individual users will continue to pay $11.99 per month for access to the service.
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Though YouTube is initiating Premium price hikes around the world, those upcharges vary from country to country. In Argentina, for example, hyperinflation is causing YouTube to triple the cost of its upsold tier. The family plans in Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, and the U.K. have also been affected. In Turkey, the price of YouTube Premium’s student account is also going up, according to TechCrunch.
“We don’t make these decisions lightly, and we realize how hard this may be for our members,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. “This new price reflects the complete value of YouTube Premium and will allow us to develop even more Premium features and continue to support the creators and artists you watch and listen to on YouTube.”
For many Premium subscribers, that explanation feels like a cop-out. Aggrieved customers have commiserated on Reddit, where some people have promised to cancel their subscriptions rather than pay the five-dollar premium. The backlash has been severe enough for YouTube to launch a help page dedicated to price hike questions. Meanwhile, on Twitter, everyone’s got jokes (as per usual).
YouTube has announced the monthly price of YouTube Premium is going to be raised from $17.99 to $22.99. This is projected to earn Google an additional $15 a month in 2023, as only like 3 people have YouTube Premium.
— Zullie (@ZullieTheWitch) October 20, 2022
The perceived dearth of YouTube Premium customers may explain why this price change is going into effect. When the service first launched, it promised ad-free viewing and access to original content, but ad blockers are easy to come by and YouTube’s original programming department isn’t as active as it once was. So instead of appealing to a wide audience, YouTube is selling a costlier product that (theoretically) has more features.
The platform recently ran a test to decide if it wanted to limit its 4K quality option to Premium subscribers. Though that test has ended, I wouldn’t be surprised if family plan subscribers are soon provided with new perks in exchange for their continued loyalty. There may not be as many YouTube Originals as there used to be, but the company is still launching plenty of shows for kids, and that could keep family plan subscribers in YouTube’s pocket.