YouTube is launching a paid subscription service that removes advertisements from the platform.
In an email to content creators, YouTube said the move was a “big step in favour of choice” and would provide a “new source of revenue” for vloggers.
Viewers will be able to pay a monthly fee, rumoured to be around $10 a month, to hide pre-roll and pop-up ads on the website.
However sponsored vlogs and videos containing product placement will not be hidden.
Google will keep 45% of the subscription fee, while creators will take a share of the remaining money, based on how long viewers spend watching their videos.
Creators will automatically join the service on 15 June. If they do not want to take part, they must upload their videos as private, keeping them hidden from viewers.
YouTube explained: “We strongly believe that any fan who’s willing to pay for a feature like an ads-free experience on YouTube deserves to access the exact same content that exists on the ad-supported site.”
The company also confirmed the free, ad-supported version of the website will remain “a core focus”.
The announcement has drawn criticism from creators who are concerned that the new business model will not affect all channels equally.
In his vlog Pay What You Tube, Dan (NerdCubed) highlights a section of the terms that says subscription money will go to “all, or a sub-set, of participating channels.”
Dan said: “It’s now in the hands of YouTube as to what content they want on the channel.”
“Instead of it being ‘anybody can make anything and you watch the stuff you like’, it’s now ‘YouTube get the choice’,” he explained.
Dan also expressed concern that offering an ad-free option will lower advertising revenue for content creators.
“Advertisers aren’t going to go ‘YouTube is making money without us… that’s the place we want to go to!’,” he said.
Vlogger Jamie Christopherson is equally sceptical, highlighting there are already ways to block advertisements on YouTube for free.
Jamie told TenEighty: “I think a small minority of people that aren’t aware of the free tool that is AdBlock will pay for this service.”
He said providing a subscription service goes against YouTube’s “original business model that built up their thriving user base.”
The subscription service is expected to launch in autumn.
For more read Vessel: A Real Threat To YouTube? or check out our Top 6 Reasons You Should Start Making Videos… right now.
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