YouTube is exploring the option of a paid subscription model. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki talked about the idea at Recode’s Code/Mobile conference on Monday. “We’re thinking about how to give users options,” she said, referencing apps that give users the option to pay up or view ads.
“We’re early in that process, but if you look at media over time, most of them have both ads and subscription services,” she said.
Wojcicki, who joined YouTube in February, was instrumental in building up Google’s ad business.
Giving users more choice would be a smart move for the platform. According to Wojcicki, the site is growing 50 percent every year. That kind of growth is attracting traditional media’s millions.
However, Wojcicki did not offer details about this model, so it’s unclear how creators would benefit from it. While content creators generate the value for the network, they don’t get much in return.
YouTube most popular creator, PewDiePie, has more than 31 million subscribers and makes millions from advertising. But he’s critical of how the platform treats the little guys: “All the money disappears… Google takes 45 percent of their ads, then the network takes 50 percent of theirs, that doesn’t leave that much money in the end. And it’s still the YouTuber who has produced, financed and made all the material on his or her own.”
Whether or not content creators would benefit from this type of subscription model remains to be seen. But for people who watch a lot of YouTube videos, it might be worth it to pay up and avoid the annoyance of pre-roll ads.
Readers: Would you pay for an ad-free YouTube?