YouTube, the second largest search engine on the planet, is to take on Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora with a new $9.99 a month subscription service called YouTube Red. To sweeten the deal, the Google company also launched YouTube Originals, which will feature original programming.
YouTube Red will launch in the US on 28 October with one month’s free trial.
YouTube senior product manager Matt Leske said that not only will the service enable fans to watch videos uninterrupted but it provides a new mechanism to support their favourite YouTube stars and video creators.
“YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month,” Leske said.
“Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon.”
Leske said that YouTube Music comes with new music discovery tools and works with Google Play Music, so subscribing to one will automatically give users access to the other.
While YouTube Red launches in the US on 28 October, no US launch date has been given for YouTube Music.
“We’re working to bring YouTube Red and our YouTube Music, Gaming and Kids apps to more countries soon. And don’t worry, the free, ad-supported version of YouTube we all know and love isn’t going anywhere. You’ll still be able to enjoy YouTube, along with the YouTube Kids, Gaming and Music apps free of charge. But with YouTube Red, you’ll be able to support the people who make your favorite videos while watching what you want, when you want, on any device you want, uninterrupted.”
YouTube said that YouTube Originals, its take on original programming and a potential competitor to Netflix, will also launch next year for YouTube Red subscribers and will include a mix of drama, comedy, travel and yes, zombies.
Among the shows revealed so far are:
Scare PewDiePie: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter as PewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.
Sing It!: From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes Sing it!, a scripted comedy that satirises the reality singing competitions that have become a centrepiece of pop culture.
Lazer Team: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.
A Trip to Unicorn Island: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
Untitled Joey Graceffa project: In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a murder mystery they’ll never forget. They’ll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won’t make it out alive.
360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory: YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat from The Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience. In each episode, Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.
Single by 30: In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum Jr and Kina Grannis.
Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of internet culture.
Fight of the Living Dead: In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, Fight of the Living Dead takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival.
I Am Tobuscus: From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music, and satirises the hilarious details of being an eccentric, new-age celebrity.
YouTube image via Shutterstock