YouTube to launch ad-free subscription option
LOS ANGELES — YouTube is launching a subscription plan in the U.S. called Red that will combine ad-free videos across its service with on-demand unlimited streaming music for $10 a month.
The plan is targeted at people who frequently click to skip ads and yet wouldn’t mind giving financial support to their favorite video creators, who’ll share in the new revenues. It comes as streaming services like Hulu, Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn offer ad-free as a paid option.
The plan includes exclusive access to new videos launching next year, as well as the YouTube Music Key service for music videos. It also comes with features such as the ability to download videos to mobile devices and have music playing in the background while using other mobile apps.
In addition, YouTube is commissioning original shows that you’ll have to pay to watch, the same way Netflix and Hulu do. There’s an initial launch slate of 10 web shows that will premiere exclusively for paying subscribers to Red, starting in January.
One is a reality series called “Scare PewDiePie,” featuring a YouTube star whose real name is Felix Kjellberg. Another is a feature-length documentary, “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” starring Lilly Singh, who calls herself “Superwoman” on the video site.
“We have a lot more shows set to launch in 2016,” global head of original programming Susanne Daniels said at the press event.
At some point “down the road” each video will be opened up for free viewing, Kyncl said, but the content will remain exclusive to Red subscribers for an “extended period of time.”
The company released an introductory video to display how the service works:
With additional reporting from CNN.