During the 2017 World Series (in which it was the presenting sponsor), YouTube TV ads were placed behind the home plate. The trademarked red play button logo appeared at the center of the screen, mimicking YouTube's interface.
In early 2018, Cohen began hinting at the possible launch of YouTube's new subscription music streaming service, a platform that would compete with other services such as Spotify and Apple Music. On May 22, 2018, the music streaming platform named "YouTube Music" was launched.
YouTube Go is an Android app aimed at making YouTube easier to access on mobile devices in emerging markets. It is distinct from the company's main Android app and allows videos to be downloaded and shared with other users. It also allows users to preview videos, share downloaded videos through Bluetooth, and offers more options for mobile data control and video resolution.
On September 28, 2016, YouTube named Lyor Cohen, the co-founder of 300 Entertainment and former Warner Music Group executive, the Global Head of Music.
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is YouTube's premium subscription service. It offers advertising-free streaming, access to exclusive content, background and offline video playback on mobile devices, and access to the Google Play Music "All Access" service. YouTube Premium was originally announced on November 12, 2014, as "Music Key", a subscription music streaming service, and was intended to integrate with and replace the existing Google Play Music "All Access" service. On October 28, 2015, the service was relaunched as YouTube Red, offering ad-free streaming of all videos, as well as access to exclusive original content. , the service has 1.5 million subscribers, with a further million on a free-trial basis. , the first season of YouTube Red Originals had gotten 250 million views in total.
On February 28, 2017, in a press announcement held at YouTube Space Los Angeles, YouTube announced the launch of YouTube TV, an over-the-top MVPD-style subscription service that would be available for United States customers at a price of US$35 per month. Initially launching in five major markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco) on April 5, 2017, the service offers live streams of programming from the five major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC), as well as approximately 40 cable channels owned by the corporate parents of those networks, The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting System (including among others Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Disney Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, E!, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX and ESPN). Subscribers can also receive Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus as optional add-ons for an extra fee, and can access YouTube Premium original content (YouTube TV does not include a YouTube Red subscription).
In May 2014, before Music Key service was launched, the independent music trade organization Worldwide Independent Network alleged that YouTube was using non-negotiable contracts with independent labels that were "undervalued" in comparison to other streaming services, and that YouTube would block all music content from labels who do not reach a deal to be included on the paid service. In a statement to the Financial Times in June 2014, Robert Kyncl confirmed that YouTube would block the content of labels who do not negotiate deals to be included in the paid service "to ensure that all content on the platform is governed by its new contractual terms." Stating that 90% of labels had reached deals, he went on to say that "while we wish that we had [a] 100% success rate, we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience." The Financial Times later reported that YouTube had reached an aggregate deal with Merlin Network—a trade group representing over 20,000 independent labels, for their inclusion in the service. However, YouTube itself has not confirmed the deal.
YouTube announced the project in September 2016 at an event in India. It was launched in India in February 2017, and expanded in November 2017 to 14 other countries, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya, and South Africa. It was rolled out in 130 countries worldwide, including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, and Iraq on February 1, 2018. The app is available to around 60% of the world's population.
Due to regularly being promoted on the Spotlight channel, YouTube Nation was able to reach the 1 million subscriber milestone within three months of its launch. The series was nominated for the 4th annual Streamy Award under Best News and Current Events but lost to SourceFed. After 350 episodes, the series aired its last episode on December 5, 2014.
Since 2010, YouTube has released an annual YouTube Rewind video through its Spotlight channel. All YouTube Rewind videos from 2012—2018 have surpassed 100 million views, while the 2016 edition surpassed 200 million views. The 2010 and 2011 videos, however, have less than 10 million views each. The 2016 video became YouTube's fastest video to reach 100 million views, doing so in just 3.2 days. It is also the eighth most-liked non-music video of all time with over 3.40 million likes. On December 14, 2016, shortly after the 2016 Rewind video was released, the Spotlight channel surpassed 1 billion total video views. On December 12, 2018, approximately 6 days and 10 hours after upload, YouTube Rewind 2018 became YouTube's most-disliked video of all time, surpassing Justin Bieber's Baby. Shortly after, it also became the first YouTube video to reach 10 million dislikes, doing so in 6 days and 12 hours. The 2018 Rewind currently sits at 16.59 million dislikes.
In January 2014, YouTube Nation was launched on its own channel, as a collaborative project between YouTube and DreamWorks Animation. DWA oversaw the production while YouTube managed the sales and marketing of the series. The series is a news series that rounds up information from the Spotlight channel. YouTube promotes the series through its Spotlight channel, as well. Early in its history, the series used guest hosts Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart (no relation) to help propel the series and its audience.
In November 2013, YouTube launched its first Music Awards presentation. Announcing its nominations in the previous month, the award show aimed to create traffic through its social media voting format. The event was streamed onto the Spotlight channel, and has earned over 4.5 million views as of September 2014. The event's technical difficulties and its plethora of nominations for mainstream artists, rather than YouTube artists, were at the center of overall mixed critical reception.
On May 17, 2018, YouTube announced the upcoming rebranding of the service as YouTube Premium, which officially took effect on June 18. The rebranding came alongside the re-launch of YouTube Music, with a separate subscription service focused solely on music (that, as before, is bundled with the larger YouTube Premium service, and also offered to Google Play Music subscribers). YouTube also announced that the price of the service would increase from US$9.99 to US$11.99 per-month for new subscribers; the existing pricing, as well as bundling of YouTube Premium benefits with Google Play Music subscriptions, is grandfathered for those who subscribed prior to the rebranding. Alongside the rebranding, the services also expanded into Canada, and 11 European countries (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), with more expansion to come in the future. By July 2019, the services were available in at least 60 countries and territories.
Since the re-launch, the YouTube apps and website have displayed an increased number of nag screens that advertise the service to non-subscribers.
YouTube was founded as a video distribution platform in 2005 and is now the most visited website in the US as of 2019. Almost immediately after the site's launch, educational institutions, such as MIT OpenCourseWare and TED, were using it for the distribution of their content. Soon after, many independent creators began to experiment with science learning. Some of the most popular early educators are listed below:
The Crash Course YouTube channel was conceived by the Green Brothers after YouTube approached them with an opportunity to launch one of the initial YouTube-funded channels as part of the platform's original channel initiative. The channel was teased in December 2011, and then launched on January 26, 2012 with the first episode of its World History series, hosted by John Green. The episode covered the Agricultural Revolution, and a new episode aired on YouTube every Thursday through November 9, 2012. Hank Green's first series, Crash Course Biology, then launched on January 30, 2012, with its first episode covering carbon. A new episode aired on YouTube every Monday until October 22 of that year. The brothers would then go on to end 2012 with two shorter series, with John and Hank teaching English literature and ecology, respectively.
Following their launch year, John and Hank returned in 2013 with U.S. History and Chemistry, respectively. However, that April, John detailed that Crash Course was going through financial hardships; in July, Hank uploaded a video titled "A Chat with YouTube", in which he expressed his frustration with the ways YouTube had been changing and controlling its website. Eventually, YouTube's original channel initiative funding ran out, and shortly after Hank's video, the Green brothers decided to launch Subbable, a crowdfunding website where viewers could donate monthly to channels in exchange for perks. On launching Subbable, Hank Green stated: "We ascribe to the idealistic notion that audiences don't pay for things because they have to[,] but because they care about the stuff that they love and want it to continue to grow". Crash Course was the first channel to be offered on Subbable, and for a time the website crowdfunded the channel. In March 2015, Subbable was acquired by Patreon, and Crash Course 's crowdfunding moved over as part of the acquisition.
Starting with the Statistics course in early 2018, Crash Course series that are not PBS co-productions began to directly identify as Complexly productions. Also that year, Crash Course launched an Arabic-language edition of World History hosted by Yasser Abumuailek and produced by Deutsche Welle (DW), which was uploaded to DW's Arabic YouTube channel. In July 2018, YouTube announced its YouTube Learning initiative, dedicated to supporting educational content on the platform. A few months later, as $20 million was invested into expanding the initiative, Crash Course secured additional funding via the initiative's Learning Fund program. However, PBS Digital Studios remained one of the primary sources of funding Crash Course, and the network also continued to help in finding sponsorships for the show. The channel surpassed 1 billion video views in February 2019. In July, YouTube launched Learning Playlists as a continuation of their Learning Fund initiative; while videos in Learning Playlists notably lack recommended videos attached to them, in contrast to videos included in regular playlists on YouTube, they also include organizational features such as chapters around key concepts and lessons ordered by difficulty. After Learning Playlists' launch, Crash Course video content was formatted into several of these playlists. The channel reached 10 million subscribers in November 2019.
A 2019 BBC investigation found that YouTube's algorithm promoted health misinformation, including fake cancer cures. In Brazil, YouTube has been linked to pushing pseudoscientific misinformation on health matters, as well as elevated far-right fringe discourse and conspiracy theories.
The YouTube interface suggests which local version should be chosen on the basis of the IP address of the user. In some cases, the message "This video is not available in your country" may appear because of copyright restrictions or inappropriate content. The interface of the YouTube website is available in 76 language versions, including Amharic, Albanian, Armenian, Bengali, Burmese, Khmer, Kyrgyz, Laotian, Mongolian, Persian and Uzbek, which do not have local channel versions. Access to YouTube was blocked in Turkey between 2008 and 2010, following controversy over the posting of videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and some material offensive to Muslims. In October 2012, a local version of YouTube was launched in Turkey, with the domain. The local version is subject to the content regulations found in Turkish law. In March 2009, a dispute between YouTube and the British royalty collection agency PRS for Music led to premium music videos being blocked for YouTube users in the United Kingdom. The removal of videos posted by the major record companies occurred after failure to reach agreement on a licensing deal. The dispute was resolved in September 2009. In April 2009, a similar dispute led to the removal of premium music videos for users in Germany.