YouTube is cracking down on ad-blockers — 3 videos and you're out

YouTube app in a folder on iOS
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

YouTube may be taking a page from the Netflix password crackdown with a new initiative that it is testing out with a small percentage of users globally that aims to drive more subscribers to YouTube Premium.

A Reddit user first reported encountering the test on June 28. It prompts users that are running ad-blockers on YouTube to either turn them off and watch the ads or to try YouTube Premium. If they choose option C and do nothing, they'll be blocked from watching any more YouTube content after 3 videos (via Bleeping Computer).

Are you willing to pay for YouTube Premium?

Much like the Netflix situation, while people will complain, it's hard to argue that YouTube isn't in the right here. Asking people to pay for the content with their wallet or their eyeballs is a reasonable request. 

YouTube Premium starts at $11.99 a month or $119.00 for an individual and critically it also includes YouTube Music. It's not cheap, but given the number of videos that many YouTube fans consume the cost per hour is probably a steal.

YouTube confirmed that it is running this "small experiment globally, but didn't offer too many additional details. We're unsure of how many users are in the test or what countries they are located in.

YouTube Premium added 30 million new subscribers from late 2021 to late 2022, bringing the total up to over 80 million subscribers. It sounds great from the outside, but inside YouTube staff are most likely stewing over the fact that it is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 2.6 billion monthly active subscribers.

We're seeing more and more companies tightening their belts (or more accurately tightening their users' belts), so this doesn't come as a surprise, but we'll be following along with interest to see if (or when) YouTube expands this out from its current trial.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.