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YouTube gears up for subscription launch

YouTube is reportedly gearing up to launch its much-speculated about subscription service in the US, after prompting content owners to agree to new site licensing terms.

Susan WojcickiAccording to a letter to YouTube content creators, which was published in full by tech site Re/code, Google-owned YouTube is planning to roll out an ad-free version of the video service for a monthly fee, with the new service terms to kick in by the end of next month.

“This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue. That’s why an overwhelming majority of our partners – representing over 95% of YouTube watch time – have asked for and signed up for this service,” said YouTube in the letter.

The video service asked its content makers to update their agreement to reflect the updated ad-free terms, and said that if anyone doesn’t follow the prompts to do so by October 22 their videos will “no longer be available for public display or monetisation in the United States”.

“We believe these new terms will greatly strengthen our partnership for the future. We went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetising your content on mobile devices. Today, mobile represents over half of all watch time and mobile revenue is up 2x in just the last year,” said YouTube.

“Just as with mobile, we’re confident this latest update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you.”

The latest information comes after YouTube sent an initial letter to content owners in April, confirming plans for an ad-free version of YouTube that users will be able access by paying a monthly fee. At the time, tech site The Verge reported that YouTube will charge users roughly US$10 per month and launch the feature in the next few months.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki (pictured) first hinted at YouTube’s subscription plans at a conference in the US last October, when she 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 at the time 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.”