YouTube introduces new ad-free subscription service

October 30, 2014

YouTube recently announced an initiative to offer advertising-free video access on its site, with a subscription.

Internet users today have accepted the fact that advertising is a part of the media and social networking websites they visit. The deal is that users watch short ads on YouTube, or other sites, in order to get to their preferred content. On social media, users scroll through targeted ads as they view items in their news feed. Just like with television, ads help media providers keep their services free of charge. This idea gave birth to cable television channels – pay and get ad-free content.

Paid-for subscriptions on YouTube
Now it seems that YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion, is about to introduce the same method to its site. The Wall Street Journal reported that Susan Wojcicki, a top Google executive, is spearheading an initiative to offer advertising-free video access on YouTube with a subscription.

With a subscription, users would get access to a version of YouTube without embedded advertising. In a world that is increasingly accessing the Internet through mobile devices, it seems like a good idea. For the portion of users that are annoyed by constant ads, if they can afford to subscribe, then it is reasonable that they have the option to pay for ad-free video service. Wojcicki said she believes that in the future, more people will be in favor of ad-free services.

“There are going to be cases where people are going to say, ‘I don’t want to see the ads,'” said Wojcicki, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Other mobile app developers already offer the option to pay and avoid embedded advertising. Wojcicki commented that giving users options is always a positive thing.

“That’s actually a pretty interesting model because it’s giving users choice,” she added.

A trend happening to provide more options
Other online video providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon have gained many users in recent months. While Hulu and Amazon show ads, Netflix does not. Alternatively, YouTube allows content providers to host their own subscription-based channels on the site. Channel creators may charge users a fee to watch their content. As it looks now, online video sites are diversified in terms of what they offer. YouTube, however, has never before offered paid, ad-free subscriptions.

YouTube may also roll out its new subscription service to its content partners. If channel creators accept, YouTube would essentially host various types of content – such as music, news and movies – that are all free of advertising if paid for.

The company currently operates the largest online video website, whose free videos attract over 1 billion users every month, according to Reuters.

YouTube is also expecting to offer a music subscription service. A user will be able to access music through a subscription without constantly being interrupted by ads. Wojcicki said on Monday that she is optimistic that the music service will be introduced soon. It has been delayed several times due to internal conflict over how features will be presented, reported The Wall Street Journal. 

It is important to mention that there will always be music and videos available on YouTube for free, with ads, but now subscription versions that do not include ads will also be offered.

Give the customers what they want
These recent developments show that more online content providers are moving to monetize their sites. Last month saw Twitter and Snapchat announcing developments with their respective sites that introduce more features. The new features will allow them to charge customers a fee for access. In the end, online content providers, just like any business, want to do two things – make money and give consumers what they want.

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