As it stands, subscribers to YouTube Premium get quite a bit for the $11.99 they pay each month. The main draw of YouTube Premium is obviously the fact that it gets rid of ads, but a Premium subscription also allows users to download videos for offline viewing, play videos in the background, and nets them access to YouTube Music. Now YouTube is testing a new “Premium Lite” subscription tier that eliminates most of those perks in exchange for a lower monthly cost.
References to Premium Lite were first noted by a ResetEra user who attempted to cancel their regular Premium subscription. When that user tried to cancel, they were offered a YouTube Premium Lite subscription instead, priced at €6.99 rather than the usual €11.99. YouTube then confirmed to The Verge that Premium Lite is indeed a real thing, but for the moment, it’s only being tested in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
While it isn’t in testing here in the US, YouTube already has an English-language subscription page set up for Premium Lite. On that page, we learn that Premium Lite only grants ad-free videos through the main YouTube app and the YouTube Kids app on various platforms. Offline viewing, background playback, and membership to YouTube Music Premium aren’t included.
“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. That spokesperson added that YouTube is considering launching other plans depending on customer feedback, so Premium Lite may not be the only new subscription tier in the pipeline.
YouTube did not indicate when YouTube Premium Lite might roll out here in the US, but assuming this test goes well, it probably won’t be too long before it’s available here in some form. It would also be interesting to see a subscription tier that offers all of the YouTube Premium features – including offline viewing and background play – while dropping the YouTube Music component, as there’s likely a good chunk of users who are only interested in the benefits for YouTube proper and not YouTube Music. We’ll see what happens from here, so stay tuned for more.