Rumors have been swirling for months that YouTube is ready to add some kind of subscription plan to its site — a Netflix-style premium offering to give you the choice of removing all the advertising — but a new report in Re/code this weekend says that some of YouTube’s newest content is going to stay firmly behind the upcoming paywall.
While YouTube as we know it will stay free and ad-supported as normal, insider sources suggest if you’re willing to stump up a few dollars a month then you’ll get access to some special programming commissioned by YouTube itself. A House of Cards rival starring PewDiePie? A day in the life of Michelle Phan? We’re going to have to wait and see.
And the wait shouldn’t be a long one: Re/code says YouTube is finally ready to unveil its plans at a special event in Los Angeles this week, on Oct. 21. It’s pretty clear that a paid-for plan of some description is incoming, because we’ve previously seen emails from YouTube to its major content creators asking for their help to get it off the ground.
It sounds like YouTube is targeting the established vloggers who are already successful on the platform and who already have large audiences rather than trying to produce completely original content from scratch, a move that would make sense if it wants to convert a large chunk of its 1 billion users into paying members.
YouTube knows it needs to move fast: Facebook is making a concerted effort to woo the video stars of the Web and get them over to its own platform. The social network giant has been busy rearranging its News Feed and introducing new formats to put video right at the heart of the Facebook experience — and that puts YouTube’s business model under threat.
Would you pay up for some exclusive YouTube clips and an ad-free experience? As soon as YouTube and Google have something official to say, we’ll let you know.