YouTube Premium Adds Value to Platform with New Features

YouTube Premium is upping is value proposition, adding new features including an enhanced bitrate for web and iOS, SharePlay so Apple users can watch together on FaceTime, and the ability to manage queues using mobile devices. The broader functionality is designed to impress upon potential subscribers that the $12 per month service offers more than ad-free viewing. YouTube says it now has 80 million Premium members “and trialers” taking advantage of a “more immersive YouTube experience.” In the coming weeks, enriched 1080p HD video will be available for Premium accounts first on iOS and then on the web.

“While all users will still have access to 1080p, this enhanced 1080p quality setting will look extra crisp and clear, especially for videos with lots of detail and motion,” YouTube said in an announcement touting the feature for sports viewing and gaming. YouTube has been testing the feature beginning earlier this year.

“Not all videos will have the 1080p Premium option,” writes The Verge, pointing out it won’t be available “on videos uploaded at resolutions higher or lower than 1080p, Shorts, or in live-streams.” Premium subscribers will be able, if they wish, to toggle back to standard 1080p even on videos that offer the enhanced bitrate.

“Support for Apple’s SharePlay, first introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in 2021,” is “another key addition,” according to TechCrunch, which noes that “competitors like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and TikTok” have long supported SharePlay.

Only paying subscribers will be able to use SharePlay on YouTube, positioning it “in a different space from rival TikTok,” an early adopter of Apple’s FaceTime co-watching feature, which the platform offers all users, TechCrunch points out. But even non-paying YouTube users can co-watch the platform with their friends using its in-house solution within Google Meet, which is available to all.

“YouTube says Premium users are the only ones who can initiate in Google Meet, but anyone including non-subscribers can view,” writes TechCrunch.

The expansion of the Premium queuing feature to phones and tablets lets viewers decide exactly the order in which upcoming videos will play even while mobile. “While today YouTube free users can save videos to playlists, including ‘Watch Later,’ queuing lets users control what video they want to play next during their current viewing session,” TechCrunch assesses.

“Last year, YouTube reported raking in around 30 million paid global subscribers across its Premium and Music offerings, marking a major jump from the 50 million paid subscribers YouTube said it had in 2021,” writes The Verge, concluding with with new features like these “the service is only bundling in more value.”

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