At last year’s Code/Mobile conference, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki hinted at the possibility of a paid subscription service that would complement YouTube’s current ad-based model. Recently, at the related Code/Media event, another YouTube exec spoke of the site’s upcoming service. At the 2015 edition of the yearly conference, YouTube Head of Content Robert Kyncl said his team is “fine-tuning” a subscription-based experience for the site.
We don’t know many officials details about YouTube’s new service yet, but if it’s similar to other subscription models we’ve seen online, it will serve as an alternative for viewers who don’t want to watch pre-roll ads before accessing their chosen videos. Instead, for a regular fee, users will be granted an ad-free experience. YouTube has previously experimented with this sort of offering through a subscription-based content hub, though that project struggled to draw viewers.
This combination of pre-roll advertising and ad-free subscriptions is the model employed by Vessel, the online video platform that recently launched as a viable option for popular YouTubers looking to increase their profits. By utilizing a similar approach, YouTube can both empower its creators while also providing more options to its millions of viewers.
A video from CNBC claims the subscription service will first arrive for YouTube Music Key, which launched in beta in November as a destination for music fans on the site. However, if this option proves popular, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it extended to a larger portion of the site. The relationship between the Music Key subscription service and the one Wojcicki hinted at last year is unclear.
No official debut date has been shared, but Kyncl did not that the subscription service is set to arrive in a few months’ time.