Google to launch ad-free subscription version of YouTube this year

9 Apr 2015

Google is within months of launching an ad-free subscriber version of YouTube, which will enable the internet giant to ratchet up the competition against Netflix, HBO and Hulu.

The move means user will be able to watch millions of videos without being interrupted by ads.

Google will also be able to generate new sources of revenue alongside its advertising business.

In November, Google launched a subscription music service within YouTube called Music Key, which allows users to access music without ads for US$10 a month.

It is understood that Google plans to offer ad-free videos as well as the ability to store videos offline to be consumed on mobile devices for US$10 a month.

More revenue for YouTube video creators?

The move will also allow video creators to put videos behind a paywall so that only subscribers to the premium version can see them.

Google has been steadily investing in production technologies to make YouTube a destination for quality, original film content, including the acquisition of Dublin-based Green Parrot Pictures led by Dr Anil Kokaram, an Oscar-winning professor at Trinity College who now works for Google in Silicon Valley.

According to a letter seen by Bloomberg, the new service may debut by the end of the year.

“By creating a new paid offering, we’ll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast-growing advertising service,” Google told content creators.

Google began dabbling with movie rental via YouTube in recent months, allowing users to rent or buy movies like Interstellar and The Interview.

YouTube image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years