I just watched one of CollegeHumor's YouTube Red videos, it was kind of a YA-dystopia parody based on buzzfeed quizzes. I watched it, and I kind of wanted to share it, and I was about to, then I remembered it was on YouTube Red.
I haven't bothered to experiment with whether those videos are actually shareable. I assume it'll just give the "This video has embedding disabled" thing and clicking the title will link you to a "YouTube Red Only" page.
My first thought was "Oh, YouTube Red totally undermines the entire business model of YouTube -- content behind a paywall can't go viral." Then, my second thought was "Oh wait, people pay for YouTube Red. They've already got a replacement business model."
I've had YouTube Red pretty much since it came out, and I like it a lot -- so far $10 a month has felt worth it for getting rid of ads and being able to play YouTube audio on my phone without keeping the video on-screen. (These two features combined make the Hamilton soundtrack YouTube playlist functional -- plus, I can back it up on my cell phone so I don't need to use data to sing along on long drives.)
Exclusive content is by far the thing I feel weirdest about when it comes to Red. I'm looking forward to some of it -- really, just Game Lab -- but mostly there's something pretty essentially weird about the idea of putting a show together that's (a.) for the internet, and (b.) limited to a paying audience.
But, as MatPat has repeatedly explained when it comes to Game Lab, there's no way he could afford to put together this kind of show without external support, and YouTube Red gives him a way to do that without relying on sponsors, who would influence the content.
The relationship that art has to budgets is probably always going to make me uncomfortable, and while I don't want to say that any particular art shouldn't exist, I'm not necessarily in favor of maintaining economic structures just because they enable any particular kind of art. And maybe more importantly, there's a difference between the concepts of "art" and "entertainment," even if one category entirely contains the other. And there's the complexity of culture -- who should have access to it? What should the barriers be? And coming back into the opening question of this blog post: shouldn't it be possible for any media to go viral? By which I mean: shouldn't any influential media be freely available to all the participants in a culture?
My intuition says it should. I don't have anything more to go on right now.