YouTube plans to roll out a subscription-based version that will let users watch videos without ads. Google informed video partners, including Business Insider, about the change today.
Video creators will be able to put their videos behind a paywall so that only subscribers will be able to see them, and the service will cost about $US10 per month, according to a report by The Verge. Google will keep about 45% of the subscription revenue and allocate the rest to partners based on how much time people spend watching their channels.
But what if video creators don’t want to participate in the new service?
If creators don’t agree to the new terms, they can either choose not to make any money from YouTube at all (including from advertising), or they can set their videos to private, where nobody will see them. If they want to make money from YouTube, they must sign the new partner agreement, and all videos will be included in both the free ad-supported version and the subscription version.
Most video makers probably won’t balk at having another way to make money from YouTube.
But earlier this year, musician Zoe Keating complained when Google asked her to sign a similar deal for the YouTube MusicKey service, a subscription service for music videos. Essentially, Keating either had to let Google distribute her videos through the subscription service, or else choose not to make money through the service at all.
The takeaway? If you want to make money from Google’s service, you must agree to Google’s terms.
Here’s the letter:
Dear YouTube Partner,
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 favour 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.
So what’s next?
Launching a new paid offering will require us to update your terms through your Creator Studio Dashboard — a process that should feel familiar to anyone who went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetizing your content on mobile devices. Today, mobile represents over half of all watchtime and mobile revenue is up 200% in the last year. Just as with mobile, we’re confident this latest contract update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you. Please look out for our notification, review it and let us know your thoughts.
It’s an exciting year for YouTube, as we push ourselves into uncharted territories. But we continue to be guided by a desire to deliver the choices fans want and the revenue you need. By working closely with you, we know it will be a successful journey.
The YouTube Team
This piece included reporting by Jillian D’Onfro.