YouTube is testing an ad-blocker crackdown in hopes of driving more subscriptions for its paid YouTube Premium service.
The test prompts users of free, ad-supported YouTube who are using ad blockers to turn them off or sign up for YouTube Premium. Those who fail to do either after being served three video ads are cut off from all YouTube content.
The test (alert message shown above) was first called out by a Reddit user, on June 28.
YouTube has confirmed that it is conducting “a small experiment” globally, but has not shared any specifics on numbers or the countries involved.
YouTube Premium, which starts at $11.99 per month and includes YouTube Music, added 30 million new subscribers from late 2021 to late 2022, for a total of more than 80 million—but that pales in comparison to the 2.6 billion free monthly active users of the platform.
YouTube parent Google — now under fire due to a research report claiming that it violates the placement terms it promises for skippable, in-stream TrueView video ads — is not alone in seeking to supplement advertising revenue by pumping up consumer revenue streams.
YouTube’s test comes on the heels of Netflix’s global rollout of a crackdown on free password sharing, starting on May 23. While the long-term outcome remains to be seen, Antenna reported that Netflix subscription signups nearly doubled, to almost 100,000 per day, on May 26 and 27, and that the gains were more than offsetting a 25.6% increase in cancels in the days following the crackdown’s implementation.
Outside of the media/entertainment sector, Costco also appears to have taken a leaf from Netflix’s strategy book. The huge, global discount club retailer has recently acknowledged that it is now extending its monitoring of membership status, via requiring shoppers to show their cards and a photo ID, to include self-checkout registers, as well as regular lanes.