Everyone's favorite place to watch ad-plastered videos of kittens knocking over water glasses just announced a major change in the way they do business. At a press conference held yesterday, YouTube shared its plan to launch a monthly-subscription service that will compete with other streaming video giants like Hulu and Netflix. The service, called YouTube Red, will cost $9.99-a-month and will allow access to original YouTube content in addition to doing away with all those ads.
The good old-fashioned, ad-laden YouTube will remain unchanged for those not interested in signing up for another streaming service.
"The YouTube you know and love continues to thrive and will continue to thrive," CNET quotes YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl as telling the press gathered yesterday. "We have been working on bringing a whole new experience to fans...a new way to experience YouTube without ads."
In addition to making videos ad-free for subscribers, the launch of YouTube Red will include a music app that leverages YouTube's de facto status as the internet's jukebox. A YouTube spokesperson told Wired that with both the music streaming app and the new Red service, "a vast majority" of the subscription fee would go to the artists and creators making the work (Wired was, of course, unable to get any hard numbers from the company detailing the revenue split).
According to the Chronicle, YouTube has tapped into its relationship with famous "YouTubers" as a first step in the content-creation game.
The original videos will range in length from a few minutes to feature-length movies and come from established YouTube stars such as the Fine Brothers, who are creating a scripted 10-episode series about a singing competition show called "Sing It." Another new show stars video game-playing star Felix Kjellberg in a reality series co-created by the makers of "The Walking Dead" called "Scare PewDiePie."
Whether or not this move will usher in a new wave of award-winning programming, as competitor Netflix has done with shows like House of Cards, remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, however, the Google-owned company has a long way to go before "YouTube and chill" doesn't sound like the depressing-night-alone cousin of "Netflix and chill."
YouTube Red launches October 28th.