Youtube preparing to launch a subscription option that removes ads

by: Andrew GrushApril 8, 2015



Youtube fans are certainly accustomed at this point to the 5-10 second ads that pop up for the majority of videos on the network. While some users are just fine with dealing with the ads in order to see the content behind them, others probably wish there was a way to remove the video ads for good. If you fall into that second group, you might be happy to learn that YouTube is in fact planning a new monthly ad-free subscription service.

In the past we’ve heard whispers on the web about how Youtube might be planning such a service, but this time the word comes from a more official source — Youtube itself. Active channel operators, including Android Authority, have received emails about how Google is planning a subscription-based option and that it intends to share a portion of the revenue from this service with content providers.

Your fans want choices. Not only do they want to watch what they want, whenever they want, anywhere, and on any device they choose, they want YouTube features built specifically with their needs in mind. Over the past several months, we’ve taken bold new steps to bring these experiences to life. Since inviting hundreds of thousands of fans into our YouTube Music Key Beta, we’ve seen tremendous engagement. And we’ve seen an equally enthusiastic response for our new YouTube Kids app, designed to give families a simpler and safer video-viewing experience— it’s already crossed 2 million installations in less than one month.

We’re excited to build on this momentum by taking another big step in favor of choice: offering fans an ads-free version of YouTube for a monthly fee. By creating a new paid offering, we’ll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue.

Here’s the portion of the email that describes how subscription revenue will be divided exactly, for those interested:

Subscription Revenues. YouTube will pay you 55% of the total net revenues recognized by YouTube from subscription fees that are attributable to 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). If your Content is included in and viewed by a user in multiple subscription offerings, YouTube will pay you based on the subscription offering with the highest amount of net revenues recognized by YouTube, as calculated by YouTube.

Bottom-line, the Youtube ad-free option wouldn’t get in the way of revenue generation for your favorite channels, so you could sign up to remove ads while still knowing that you are supporting content creators. Aside from the removal of ads, what else can we expect from this subscription option? It’s hard to say for sure. The wording of the email that Youtube sent suggests that this is a separate option from Music Key, but it’s possible this could still be bundled into that service.

The email makes it pretty clear this ad-free subscription option is rolling out sooner rather than later, so it shouldn’t be too long before more details hit. Would you be willing to pay a subscription fee to ditch the ads on Youtube? If so, how much would you pay?

  • My take on this is that they are trying to compete with patreon, that many channels seem to use, and offer the same service within youtube. Obviously they are losing money if youtubers use patreon and they want their cut

    • AngelOfGrace

      Patreon, as nothing to do with adds on YouTube!!! Patreon is voluntary if people wishes to support you by giving a x amount of money per month or per videos, depending on the Patreon choice. I am using Patreon, BUT it does not in any case take the adds of the YouTube channel you support. Patreon is extra from that, and it is more on a regular basis, since YT add sense are not always the same price and therefore does not always produce the same x amount of revenue per month to the YouTuber. The YouTuber only receives money from his/her channel if they meet the minimum requirement in regards of views/adds per month. Sometimes, you get paid, and sometimes you don’t!

      • Yes I totally get it. I know how patreon works and that it has nothing to do with youtube and google. I am trying to interpret this move by Google as an incentive to move youtubers from using patreon to using google’s new subscription service (which seems more beneficial for the user because it removes ads), and that will get them another source of income since they will get a cut from that (I presume), which they don’t if a youtuber uses patreon

  • ed

    Lol why logic people would pay when adblock plus does the same thing :)

    • That’s pretty much what I was about to post: “The Internet has ads?”

      • Gabriel Alin

        Internet has ads on mobile devices where you can’t install adblock.

        • Fiddlesticks

          Of course you can block ads, in all apps, on both Android and iOS devices. You just need something called a brain and some research skills. lol

        • Batta

          One word: adaway

    • dain42

      Because some people don’t like ads but still want to support the content creators they enjoy.

      There are podcast networks out there like which derive the vast majority of their funding from people who voluntarily give them money for content that’s freely accessible online, to the tune of over 6000 new and upgrading supporters this year during their MaxFunDrive.

      Or if you want a more old-media model, just look at public television and public radio. They have always given away all their content completely free of charge and have always derived most of their budgets from listeners and viewers who valued the content enough to contribute voluntarily. That’s almost certainly one of the reasons that public radio has taken so naturally to podcasting and the internet. It doesn’t break their fundamental (non-)business model of voluntary support.

      Speaking of public radio, WNYC’s program On The Media did a really good story about this whole idea in the past year called “Who’s gonna pay for this stuff?” I’d highly recommend a listen:

      Like it or not, all this stuff on the internet costs money and time to produce, and people aren’t going to do it at a loss or for free. So to paraphrase John Hodgman, “If you enjoy a thing, you should support it in the way it makes money, so that the people who make it can continue to do so.”

      • Paul M

        Great comment.
        Talking of WNYC, check out Radiolab, it’s my favorite podcast.

    • Toss3

      I have adblock, yet I still get ads on youtube. Some regions have ads that you cannot block, but they go away by refreshing the page.

  • Craig

    Looks looks like direct competition to Vessel. I have seen some content creators move to Vessel in response to YouTube’s recent changes with sponsors. Wonder if this will move them back. Probably not right away since they have deals worked out with Vessel. To bad they jumped the gun I guess. I’ve seen nothing but people complaining about the poor video quality and user experience over at Vessel.

  • smokebomb

    $1-5/month or I’ll just continue doing something else while I wait for the ads to finish.

  • yardie

    Or if you know your way around android, edit the host file yourself

  • flye

    I don’t even knows there’s ads in YouTube now a days

  • Bob Reilley

    I hope this doesn’t mean that some content will only be subscription based or that the non subscription side gets even more ads.