A leaked letter sent to content creators has confirmed YouTube's long-suspected plan to launch an ad-free subscription service for viewers.
Your fans want choices,” the letter, obtained by Bloomberg, stated. We're… taking another big step in favour of choice: offering fans an ad-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.
So what's next? Launching a new paid offering will require us to update your terms. Just as with mobile, we're confident this latest contract update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you.
It's an exciting year for YouTube, as we push ourselves into uncharted territories. But we continue to be guided by a desire to deliver the choices fans want and revenue you need. By working closely with you, we know it'll be a successful journey.”
The move clearly places YouTube in more direct competition with streaming video services such as Netflix and could launch, Bloomberg adds, by the end of the year. $10 per month seems to be the figure being bounded about. In general the site seems keen to shift as much revenue as possible away from advertisers.
It was reported late last year that YouTube was already in the process of improving the terms offered to its biggest names in an attempt to secure its leading talent for the foreseeable future. And it is already dabbling in the subscription waters, having last year launched a paid-for music service. It now also allows users to rent or buy movies.
YouTube itself fell short of confirming the leaked document, although it certainly didn't deny it, stating: "While we can't comment on ongoing discussions, giving fans more choice to enjoy the content they love and creators more opportunity to earn revenue are always amongst our top priorities."