The subscription service would provide an ad-free version of YouTube for a monthly fee, part of which would be shared with partners as another source of revenue.
From the email:
Your fans want choices. Not only do they want to watch what they want, whenever they want, anywhere, and on any device they choose, they want YouTube features built specifically with their needs in mind. Over the past several months, we've taken bold new steps to bring these experiences to life. Since inviting hundreds of thousands of fans into our YouTube Music Key Beta, we've seen tremendous engagement. And we've seen an equally enthusiastic response for our new YouTube Kids app, designed to give families a simpler and safer video-viewing experience— it's already crossed 2 million installations in less than one month.
We're excited to build on this momentum by taking another big step in favor of choice: offering fans an ads-free version of YouTube for a monthly fee. By creating a new paid offering, we'll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue.
This isn't the first time YouTube has played around with the idea of paid video content. The service debuted paid channel subscriptions back in 2013 at a price of $0.99 per month. However, that service (which hasn't exactly been a runaway success) only applies on a channel-by-channel basis and remains fairly limited in score — covering only 280 channels. It's unclear what the monthly fee for this new subscription offering would be, but it appears to apply across the whole of YouTube, eliminating pre-roll ads for users, with part of the fee going to partners.
The email doesn't make mention of when the service may debut, but a separate report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, claims that the service will debut before the end of this year. Given that YouTube is alerting its partners to the change now, it seems like a safe bet that the service can't be too far off.
Thanks to Ryan for the tip!
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