YouTube Premium is a solid option if you want to pay to skip through its often harrowing advertising. But it’s about $US12 ($16) a month on top of a whole host of other subscription services you’re probably already paying for. The price includes access to YouTube Music, offline downloads, and background playback. But for everyone else who doesn’t want those extras, the current subscription price may be too much.
YouTube is working on a cheaper version of YouTube Premium that eschews the extra features in favour of just the ad-blocking. It’s called Premium Lite, and it’s currently being tested in a few European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
You can technically visit the Premium Lite page now. If you’re visiting from an IP address out of the regions mentioned above, you’ll get a splash screen telling you there is no offer available. But with the help of a VPN app that connected me to servers in Amsterdam, I accessed the screen inviting me to sign up for YouTube Premium Lite.
In Nordics and Benelux (except for Iceland), we’re testing a new offering to give users even more choice: Premium Lite costs €6.99/month (or local equivalent per month) and it includes ad-free videos on YouTube
YouTube Premium currently costs €12 a month in Europe, about the same as in the U.S., give or take on the conversion. Premium Lite is a bit more than half the price and will enable ad-free viewing on YouTube across all platforms, including desktop, iOS, Android, smart TVs, and game consoles. It will also eliminate advertising from the YouTube Kids app, which may be worth it for the peace of mind for some parents.
Of course, much like how SnackWell’s promised us back in the ‘90s that it was as delicious as a full-calorie cookie — which turned out to be a damn lie — YouTube Premium Lite won’t have all the dressings of the current Premium tier. There will be no background playback or offline downloads, nor will you have access to YouTube Music.
It’s unclear if YouTube Premium Lite will eventually make its way to other markets, but it’ll be interesting to see how Google prices it out for families and students. Currently, families of up to five members pay $US18 ($24) a month across the board for YouTube Premium, and students pay $US7 ($10). I’d gladly pay for a Family Plan for everyone in my household — even the baby — if it means I never have to see another conspiracy ad.