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YouTube Tests ‘Premium Lite’ Subscription: No Ads on Videos, But Music Not Included

Jeff Kotuby

There is nothing more frustrating than opening up YouTube, seeing that your favorite creator has posted something new, only for a pesky 15-second ad to hit you square in the face when you click on it. Worse yet is when you get an ad longer than the YouTube Short you wanted to watch. For fans who can’t stand ads but don’t want to take the plunge into YouTube Premium, YouTube is testing out a new tier — Premium Lite.

The YouTube Premium Lite tier will remove ads but won’t offer other Premium benefits like offline downloads and background playback. It will exist in the middle of the free experience and Premium, mimicking the “middle option” that’s been wildly popular lately, thanks to ad-supported tiers of streaming services like Hulu, Peacock, and HBO Max (though it won’t have ads, of course.)

The new “Premium Lite” plan was first identified by a user on ResetEra, a popular tech forum, when they tried to cancel their existing YouTube Premium account. The tier’s existence was subsequently confirmed by YouTube in a statement provided to The Verge. Premium Lite is currently being tested in European countries only, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

“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,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge.

Ads on YouTube are no doubt a necessary evil — as creators earn their living from ad revenue, it’s vital for the lifeblood of the community, but man is it annoying to sit through ads every single time you tap on a video. While the idea of a paid, ad-free YouTube tier is enticing, it will likely have to be at a lower price point for users to really embrace it.

Only getting ad removal for about 4 euros less than Premium, which offers offline downloads and background playback on top of removing ads, doesn’t seem like the best value comparatively speaking. Granted, this new program is in its testing phase and may change, especially when it gets ready to come to the US.

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