YouTube officially launched its premium subscription service in Canada in May 2018.
After a successful launch and trial period with YouTube Red (its predecessor) in the US, the Google-owned social media platform launched YouTube Premium in Canada and a handful of other countries.
For $11.99 per month, you’ll get to experience YouTube ad-free and take advantage of some other premium perks.
Is it really worth the cost, though?
Below, I’ll give you a detailed overview of YouTube Premium Canada’s features, explain who they’re best for, and whether or not the subscription is really worth the cost.
Allows you to stream ad-free content, access YouTube Premium music, watch movies/TV, and play content in your device background for a monthly fee of $11.99
- Watch any YouTube video without interruption by ads
- Listen to music uninterrupted and access YouTube Premium Music’s collection
- Watch movies and YouTube Original TV shows for free
- Play videos and music in your phone’s background (not supported with a free plan)
- Free one-month trial period
- Family plan available at a discount
- Premium features may not be worth the cost
- YouTube’s movie and TV content pales in comparison to other streaming platforms
- It’s just another automatically billed subscription that can detract from your budget
YouTube Premium Canada: Try It Before You Buy It
I’ll be honest, I personally use YouTube Premium Canada and I enjoy it. However, I don’t think that everybody really needs it.
As a digital nomad, I’m always on my computer, and I often listen to music or podcasts in the background. The ad-free listening allows me to focus on my work without having to constantly click back on tabs and skip annoying ads.
I also have my own Youtube channel, and I like to scope out my competition often so having no ads helps save a lot of time.
The reality is, though, that I never would have considered subscribing to YouTube Premium Canada if the platform didn’t offer a gracious free trial period.
One day, I was watching a video and received an on-screen offer to try a free month of YouTube Premium.
So, I figured, “Why not?”
After using it for a full month, I decided that I liked it enough to pay for the next month, and I’ve been using it for a few months now.
Unlike other free trial periods, which try to sneak up on you and bill you for your first month without warning, YouTube Premium sends you a warning one week ahead of your first billing date (after three weeks of your trial). In a world full of money-grabbing subscriptions, I appreciate this small token of honesty.
All of that being said, I recommend that you take advantage of the free trial.
If nothing else, you’ll have access to ad-free content for a month, which could save you time that you’d otherwise spend getting distracted by trying to skip over ads.
If you don’t like it, YouTube makes it super simple to cancel your premium subscription. Just mark your calendar for the first billing date so you remember to cancel!
When I first saw the “perks” that come with a YouTube Premium subscription, I’ll admit that I wasn’t all that impressed. I really had to experience the perks to really see their value. Even then, the perks aren’t worth it for everybody.
So, here’s what you get for your $11.99 monthly subscription to YouTube Premium Canada:
- Ad-free content (that’s right – zero annoying ads)
- Free movies and YouTube Original TV shows
- The ability to download titles and stream offline
- Background play mode for smartphones
- YouTube Premium Music is included for free
Rough estimates say that the average human spends several hours per week viewing ads on TV and apps every week, whether they want to or not. One independent researcher on Medium even put together an algorithm that calculates the value of your time spent watching YouTube ads.
To me, the real value of YouTube Premium Canada is the ability to skip ads. Until I tried my membership, I didn’t realize how much focus I lost constantly having to skip ads if I had music playing in the background.
I’ve always been a proponent of sustained deep work, where I focus intensely on a task for a period of time to maximize my productivity with no distractions. I didn’t realize how much a simple 30-second ad would break my focus until I got to experience YouTube ad-free.
Again, this is just based on my personal experience.
Many of the people I’ve talked to say that YouTube ads really don’t bother them all that much.
YouTube is trying to break into the movie and television streaming industry. I say “trying” because they’re really not doing all that great of a job in terms of the titles and depth of the platform’s content.
Still, you may find a few gems here and there, depending on what you’re interested in.
Whether you’re using YouTube Premium Canada for streaming or not, though, you will be able to access their full (if limited) collection. You’ll also be able to watch all of the titles ad-free, just as you would with regular YouTube videos.
Prior to the launch of YouTube Premium, downloading YouTube videos was downright sketchy.
You’d have to copy and paste the video URLs into third-party websites that would then provide you with an MP4 file to download. Half of the time, though, you’d accidentally click on a spam link and download a bunch of adware onto your device.
Eventually, I just gave up on the idea altogether.
With YouTube Premium, though, you’ll be able to download videos to your app so that you can stream them while you’re offline. This is great if you have a flight or a long road trip planned and can also help you conserve your mobile data (YouTube streaming takes up a lot of data).
While other streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ offer the same functionality, sometimes I prefer to catch on some of my favourite YouTube vlogs, podcasts, and interviews instead of mindlessly watching TV or movies on my flight.
- Related Reading: 30 Best Free Streaming Options In Canad
Watching videos, podcasts, and playing music on the YouTube app is one of the quickest ways to kill your phone battery. If you’re a busy person like myself, then the last thing you want to do is take time out of your day to sit down and charge your phone for an hour.
If I’m in a foreign country where electric outlets are limited, this becomes even more of a problem.
The background play functionality is nice because it allows you to play the audio content of whatever you’re watching even after you close your phone screen. This also allows you to listen to content as you multi-task and check emails, respond to messages, or trade some stocks.
I already have a Spotify subscription and have customized playlists that I’m not planning on giving up, so I don’t use YouTube Music Premium all that much.
However, if you don’t have an existing music streaming plan (or don’t mind ditching your old one), then YouTube Music offers a great selection of music, including classics, modern hits, and everything in between.
While the selection isn’t quite as wide as Spotify or Apple Music, it should be enough to satisfy the average listener.
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t also explain some of the drawbacks and shortcomings of YouTube Premium Canada. Here are some of my main qualms:
- The monthly cost is rather expensive
- There are few movies or TV shows that are worth watching
- The extra features may seem a bit lacking to some
To start with, YouTube Premium Canada is a bit… pricey. $11.99 per month may not sound like a whole lot spent once, but it adds up to nearly $144 every year. Many people would rather spend that money buying their family gifts on the holidays or going out for a couple of nice dinners.
At this price, it’s pretty much the same as a Netflix subscription. At least Netflix offers a great selection of movies and TV, though, which helps justify the cost.
With YouTube Premium, the main benefit is ad-free viewing, which a lot of people really don’t care all that much about.
Additionally, you should also ask yourself, “Do I really need to pay for ANOTHER subscription?” If you’re like most people, you probably already have subscriptions for music streaming, movies/entertainment services, Amazon Prime, monthly boxes, and whatever else you’re into.
If you’re really going to take advantage of YouTube Premium’s features, then the cost may be worth it. However, if the extra features aren’t going to impact you all that much, then the money may be better saved.
Like I mentioned, YouTube Premium Canada has a very limited selection of movies and TV shows. If you’re not picky, you’ll probably find a few titles that you like and a few good old-fashioned classics. Otherwise, though, you’re better off sticking to your usual movie streaming platform.
The YouTube Premium Family plan allows you to save money by signing up for a single plan that you can share with up to five family members living in your home. You’re basically getting five memberships for less than half of what you’d all individually pay, which is a pretty good deal.
Originally, YouTube Premium Family was just $17.99 per month, which made it just $6 more than the standard YouTube Premium subscription. However, in November 2022, Google announced that it would be increasing the price of YouTube Premium Family to $22.99 per month (a 28% increase).
It’s still a good way to save if everybody in your family wants to chip in, though.
Yes, your kids using the YouTube Kids app (for safe viewing) will be able to take advantage of your account’s premium features. This means they’ll have ad-free viewing, be able to play titles in the background, and more.
YouTube Premium is currently supported on all iOS and Android devices. Even if you happen to have a device that doesn’t support the YouTube app, you’ll still be able to access your premium features with the mobile or desktop YouTube website.
In my opinion, YouTube Premium Canada is good for people who use the platform to listen to music and podcasts or who want the ability to save YouTube content to their devices. As a digital nomad who uses YouTube frequently for this, these features are with the extra $11.99 per month.
However, the cost of the premium subscription may not be worth it for the majority of YouTube users. Thankfully, YouTube offers a free one-month trial, so you can try it out and see if you like it or not.
Do you watch a lot of sports? If so, then check out my list of the best sports streaming apps in Canada next!