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Netflix, Showmax, DSTV Now, Amazon Prime Video and Curiosity Stream. The entertainment streaming scene is broadening at a rapid pace without showing any signs of slowing down. The latest addition to this list is YouTube Premium which launched in South Africa in March 2019. I gave it a go over the last two months and added it to our streaming services guide.

So what does it cost?

Probably the most important question. After subscribing to Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime, without even your music streaming subscriptions like Apple Music and Spotify into account, the cost will start adding up. At R71,99 for a single subscription, YouTube Premium is definitely not breaking the bank.

Even more affordable is the family subscription. For a mere R109.99, you can opt for a family subscription where you can add up to six family members (ages 13+) in the same household. Just like with Netflix, the funds are deducted from your credit card monthly. Unfortunately, they do not yet have the option of gift cards or preloaded cards that can be bought at supermarkets.

But wait, YouTube is free, why would I suddenly start paying for it?

Excellent question! Probably the most awesome thing about YouTube Premium is that it provides you with an ad-free YouTube experience. Sound like heaven? It actually is. Gone are those 30-second interruptions and ‘skip ad’ button, leaving you with hours and hours of uninterrupted content.

Another great benefit is the fact that it features a background play function which means that your video plays uninterrupted in the background, even when you open another app. This seemed a bit weird to me at first, because am I not watching to see what’s going on on-screen? But what this actually means is that I can keep listening to the audio even when quickly sending a WhatsApp or checking Instagram.

You are also able to download YouTube videos to watch on the go with your YouTube Premium subscription. More than that, you can also download playlists to listen to offline, which is great if you do not always have access to wifi or if you are travelling. Once downloaded, you can view the video for 30 days before it expires.

What about the extras?

So, apart from the perks listed above, a YouTube Premium subscription will also give you access to three other great YouTube products, the first of which is YouTube Music. I’m often frustrated by Apple Music and Spotify’s algorithms that keep serving me the same music over and over again. In that sense, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by YouTube Music as I’ve discovered tons of new music. I also love the fact that you can download music, toggle between songs with or without videos and the aforementioned background play function

YouTube Originals is their own content creation section. These series and movies are only rolling out in South Africa, but already I’ve had a look at some great content. Do You Want To See A Dead Body? is one of my favourites, and features a bunch of comedians acting as themselves. Since releasing in March, the library of Originals has only increased, so we look forward to seeing more of these gems.

The premium subscription will also give you access to the YouTube Kids and YouTube Gaming app. Both of these also feature ad-free play and offline play, while YouTube Gaming also includes background play.

Final thoughts

I would describe myself as a regular YouTube user and therefore have really enjoyed these last few ad-free months! And of course, YouTube Music is my new go-to. I have become a bit frustrated by the background play option, though, as I’ve become used to just locking my phone when I’m done watching something. I’m excited to further dive into the YouTube Originals offering, but at R71,99 it is definitely worth giving it a go. And you can cancel it at any time, of course.


Free State-girl, living in Stellenbosch. Love to explore small towns, read in Afrikaans and everything pop-culture. My favourite yoga move is 'The Pigeon' and one day I'd like to own my own vintage cinema.

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