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YouTube CEO hints at ad-free subs service

YouTube is reportedly looking to new subscription offerings, including ad-free version of the service, according to the Google-owned video site’s CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Susan WojcickiSpeaking at tech site Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference in California, Wojcicki said that while YouTube’s ad-supported approach has allowed it to build massive scale, “there’s going to be a point where people don’t want to see the ads”.

Without going into details, Wojcicki said that YouTube was “thinking about how to give users options” and said that giving users the choice to either watch ads or pay a fee was “an interesting model”.

Speaking on stage, Wojcicki also revealed that half ofYouTube’s views now come from mobile devices that that viewing time on the site is growing at a rate of 50% each year.

The comments mark YouTube’s latest efforts to experiment with monetising its site in different ways.

Last May, YouTube first started piloting individual subscription channels on its site, with 53 initial participant networks kicking-off the scheme.

Each of these channels was free to set a monthly charge for accessing their content, with participants including The Jim Henson Company, which launched a channel called Jim Henson Family TV, featuring ad-free full episodes of hit shows like Fraggle Rock and Sid the Science Kid for US$2.99 (€2.30) per month or US$24.99 per year.

Before this, YouTube first started building a partner programme in 2007 to enable content creators to earn revenues from their channels. In 2011 it then launched its original channels initiative in the US, rolling this out to Europe in 2012. This saw YouTube invest in original content for the site, offering advances on ad-revenues for the professionally-produced videos for the first time. It has also experimented with per-film movie rentals and live-streamed content on the site.

Susan Wojcicki was appointed to run YouTube in February this year, having previously served as senior vice president of ads and commerce at Google.