Hate Ads? You May Love YouTube’s Cheap New Ad-Free Plan

Remove ads and support creators

Key Takeaways

  • YouTube’s Premium Lite subscription removes ads from videos, and nothing more.
  • The new plan is currently being tested in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
  • Premium Lite costs €6.99. Regular Premium is $11.99.
launching youtube on a smartphone

Szabo Viktor / Unsplash

Would you pay a few bucks per month just to remove the ads from YouTube? YouTube thinks you will.

Premium Lite is YouTube’s new, cheaper subscription, relative to the regular $11.99 Premium option, at a price expected to come in around $6.99 a month, if and when it's released in the US. It comes without the ads, but doesn’t have background (picture-in-picture) playback, or ad-free music. The idea seems to be that folks who don’t want to pay $12 per month just to add features to an already-free video service might be convinced to pay to get rid of the ads. But is it worth it? If you hate ads, and want to support your favorite creators, then the answer is yes.

"YouTube Premium is an excellent solution to some of the problems YouTube has been sharply criticized for over the past years," YouTuber Paul Strobel told Lifewire via email. "Not only does it make the user experience much better without ad breaks, but it also diminishes many of the issues that are created by YouTube being an advertiser-driven platform." 

Ad-Free Options

Premium Lite is in the testing phase, and the price is not final, but a cheap(er) way to remove ads is a compelling offer. YouTube ads seem to get more annoying by the week, and even short videos are loaded with up-front ads, as well as interstitial ones.

There are already ways to watch YouTube without the ads—the Brave browser does a great job of that on iOS, for example. YouTube ad blockers are a cold war—and one that YouTube is currently winning after a recent change that introduced a harder-to-block ad format—but they also deprive creators of a surprising amount of ad revenue.

"Actually, YouTube pays at least 50% (before tax of course) to creators," musician and YouTuber Gavinski told Lifewire in a forum thread

"For me, I wouldn't want to pay more for a service like YouTube than, say, Netflix or HBO, but $6.99 seems far more reasonable."

YouTube Premium is one way around this, but it includes extras that maybe you don’t want to pay for. Just like with ads, there are ways to work around YouTube’s other restrictions. On iPadOS you can force videos to play picture-in-picture with a bookmarklet, and you can trick the app into playing audio-only by putting the screen to sleep, then waking it and using the lock-screen media controls to restart playback. 

Considering all this, offering a Lite version that does nothing but bump the ads is a great idea, and a subscription option is also great for creators whose work might be censored by advertisers.

Ad Veto

"With the new YouTube Premium setup, YouTube can once again reward all types of content creators, whether the content is deemed to be sensitive or not—and I absolutely love that," says Strobel. "These channels with more sensitive content generally have to rely on third-party income sources like Patreon just to try and make a living, which is suboptimal for YouTube in the first place."

It’s fine for companies to refuse to put their ads on videos they don’t agree with. But there are other kinds of "sensitive content," as Strobel puts it, that are legitimate, but may still scare off more conservative advertisers.

man holding smartphone over eyes while launching youtube

Rachit Tank / Unsplash

In these cases, creators can still get paid for their work, even without the ad dollars. And this is good for YouTube, too, because it keeps those creators inside YouTube, instead of going outside to other subscription services. 

"If YouTube shares revenue with the creators that were previously demonetized for not being advertiser-appropriate, I think they'll definitely be able to rival Patreon," says Strobel. 

How Much?

The case for paying YouTube is a good one, then, because everybody wins. But how much is too much? $6.99 seems like a lot, just to remove ads, when the full-strength YouTube Premium is only a few dollars more. Then again, $6.99 is less than most music streaming services, and is easy enough to swallow. 

"For me, I wouldn't want to pay more for a service like YouTube than, say, Netflix or HBO, but $6.99 seems far more reasonable," says Strobel. "At $6.99, I suspect a lot more people will buy into it."

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