YouTube ad-free subscription service ‘coming in months’

20/02/2015

In a high-profile test of the paid content versus ad-funded business models, Google is preparing a YouTube subscription service that lets people pay to watch videos without adverts.

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YouTube’s head of content and business operations, Robert Kyncl, says that a subscription offering is important to YouTube because some viewers do not wish to sit through ads.

YouTube is “fine-tuning the experience”, according to Kyncl, speaking at the Code/Media conference in California last week.

Kyncl added that a subscription offering was important to YouTube because some viewers did not wish to sit through advertisements.

YouTube has been exploring a paid, advert-free version of its service for some time, launching a pilot program in 2013 that allowed individual content providers to charge consumers a subscription fee to access a particular video channel.

A report from CNBC recently suggested that YouTube might roll out subscriptions sooner rather than later.

The move would allow YouTube to compete with companies such as Netflix and represent a significant change for the site, whose free ad-supported videos attract more than one billion users a month.

A total of 29 channels went live as part of the 2013 pilot, with partners including Sesame Street, UFC, National Geographic, PGA and Magnolia Pictures, charging $0.99 or more a month for paid channels that would sit alongside their free videos on YouTube.

YouTube also recently launched Music Key, letting viewers watch music videos without ads. The service is currently free in its beta form but will eventually cost $7.99 per month.

Kyncl’s comments may have been referring to that subscription officially launching. CNBC’s reporter, however, suggested that YouTube might expand even beyond Music Key and into subscriptions for all videos.

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