YouTube has hinted on and off for quite a while now that it would be implementing a paywall of some sort to enable users to view videos ad-free. Now, via an official announcement on their blog, YouTube debuts “YouTube Red.”
The video publishing network will launch what it calls “The Ultimate YouTube Experience” on October 28th later this month. A $9.99 monthly membership fee will enable users to save content for viewing offline. The subscription also includes access to YouTube’s recently launched Gaming app and a music app (yet to be released).
It’s not just an ad-free tier that has people buzzing, but also the fact that YouTube plans to reserve new original content from some of the network’s top content creators specifically for paid subscribers. As reported earlier this week in Wall Street Journal, YouTube has already signed (albeit reluctantly, perhaps via future ad-revenue exclusion clause) Time Warner, Fox Sports, A&E, NBCUniversal, with Walt Disney still up in the air.
For years, YouTube has worked to further interest in its native content creators, citing them an integral aspect to the network’s originality. Just last year, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki hinted that involvement in helping its content creators grow and assisting in the production of videos would grow (Fast Company). YouTube’s 2011 Original Channels Initiative certainly brought original content into the limelight but ultimately failed to elicit the requisite traction.
YouTube’s upcoming subscription service is no doubt an attempt at building upon the foundation created in 2011 and taking things to the next level amidst several existing competitors, Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, Facebook, and Vessel.
image via youtube.com/red
A $9.99 monthly membership fee will grant users access to all of the network’s content — both original and non-original free from ads. On top of this, paid subscribers will have access to specific original content (slated for early 2016), which YouTube hopes to grow and nurture by helping its biggest and most successful content creators thrive. In a way, the subscription service will likely operate in a manner similar to Netflix, with the key difference being that users will still be able to stream ad-supported content for free.
How will YouTube’s new subscription service affect top YouTubers and channels? Clearly, users will still be able to access the network to digest video of all kinds, but revenue generated via paid subscription service and put towards the development of YouTuber content may be a key signal of YouTube’s direction and emphasis with original content creation. Wojcicki has maintained in interviews that she believes the YouTubers who are currently making their way to the top of YouTube have a lot more to share.
As today’s announcement of YouTube’s first-ever subscription service drives the spotlight towards forthcoming original content, only time will tell what the video publishing network’s original series’ will look like. Still, the introduction of a paywall to the web’s biggest video sharing network (and second largest search engine) was bound to occur at one point or another, especially considering similar competing services and the previous models YouTube had hoped to cement.
YouTube’s subscription service is a developing story. Stay tuned for more breaking news or subscribe to our industry newsletter digest for the latest news, stats, and trends involving influencer marketing.