Today, YouTube started to notify customers who use its ad-free Premium Lite service that it will be shutting down the plan. YouTube’s Premium Lite is a cheaper, ad-free subscription service offered in select European countries. It is cheaper than the full YouTube Premium service but offers fewer options. This was first spotted by The Verge and confirmed by Cord Cutters News.
Update: It looks like Premium Lite may still be offered in some parts of Asia, according to reports, and that Google is only shutting down the plan in Europe.
Unlike the full YouTube Premium service, the Premium Lite service only offers an ad-free service and doesn’t include background playing or offline viewing. Now if Premium Lite subscribers want to keep their commercial-free experience, they will need to pay extra for the full-priced YouTube Premium service.
YouTube has been working to eliminate ad-blocker use for a while now and move customers over to YouTube Premium. In July, the video platform tested a blocking system that would block video playback until the ad-blocker was disabled. The latest Reddit discussions appear to be proof of further implementation of the system. Google, YouTube’s owner, had $7.6 billion in ad revenues at the end of the 2nd quarter of 2023. YouTube has also been trying to get more viewers to watch ads by testing a smaller “Skip Ads” button, 30-second un-skippable ads and longer ad breaks.
Now it seems that YouTube wants any customers who are looking for ad-free YouTube to pay the full price of YouTube Premium.
Cord Cutters News has reached out to YouTube for comment and will update our story as we learn more.