YouTube has finally confirmed rumours that they would be launching a paid subscription service to improve revenues and compete with new streaming video entrants like Vessel. This confirmation has come in the form of an email sent out yesterday to YouTube Partners, included below.
The new subscription service is being touted as an additional revenue stream for creators and a method for users to enjoy YouTube's service ad-free. YouTube will pay out 55% of the total net revenues collected from the subscriptions and pay out based based on the "monthly views or watchtime of your Content as a percentage of the monthly views or watchtime of all or a subset of participating content in the relevant subscription offering (as determined by YouTube)." In preparation for this change, YouTube will be updating its Partner Program Terms on June 15th.
This is a continuation of the strategy that saw them launch the Music Key Beta, a subscription music service offering users the option to stream music videos for free, as well as unlimited access to the Google Play music catalogue.
The one main question that YouTube fans and creators alike are left asking, is the eventual price of the offering. Vessel currently offers its service for $2.99 per month for early access to videos destined to make their way to YouTube, so is unlikely a good benchmark for what Google decides to charge for an ad-free YouTube experience. Music Key is slated to cost $9.99 per month when it launches publicly, which is well inline with other music service competitors.