If you are off put by advertisements every time you watch a video online, YouTube, owned by Google, has just the solution for you.

It has long been discussed, but YouTube has released plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service. In a letter sent out to all YouTube Partners, the offer details a choice for consumers to pay for an ‘ads-free’ version of the YouTube platform for a monthly fee. These changes will go into effect later this year.

Of course this new venture will help generate an additional income for channels. But is this the way forward? How many of us actually watch TV live now or record and fast forward through the adverts? Other web-based companies such as Netflix and Spotify offer a similar service, whereby consumers pay for access to content that can be streamed on-demand, uninterrupted.

YouTube’s plans to move into subscriptions have been underway for some time. In October, YouTube head Susan Wojcicki, who had been spearheading the monetisation efforts, explained at the Code Mobile conference that the option would especially appeal to mobile viewers who are increasingly interested in avoiding advertisements.

According to YouTube’s updated Partner Program Terms, YouTube will pay creators 55 per cent of the total net revenues from subscription fees – this is the same percentage associated with advertising revenues. Specifically, the updated Terms states:

YouTube will pay you 55% of the total net revenues recognised by YouTube from subscription fees that are attributable to the monthly views or watch-time of your Content as a percentage of the monthly views or watch-time 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 recognised by YouTube, as calculated by YouTube.

One thing that neither the letter to creators nor the updated Terms references is the price of the subscription offering. Nor does it disclose when the service will be offered to the public. The June 15 date references when the Terms changes go into effect, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the service will be immediately public to all YouTube users at that time. It could be a staged roll-out, or YouTube could have simply wanted the legalese in place ahead of the broader subscription service’s launch. However, sources told Bloomberg the offering is expected to go live this year.

But is this what we want as a technology advancement? Typically our blogs look at just that: technology that has wowed us. Yet another paywall is something we have a little trouble with. When Tim Berners Lee gave us the World Wide Web did he envisage paywalls and content only open for those with the ability to pay for it?

The plus of the new service – I always like to have a counter-argument, a positive spin! – is by becoming a paid subscriber you would have the ability to store videos for offline viewing. Thus saving on your mobile data usage. Also it has been muted that children’s content would be cheaper.

Thoughts, please!

Until next time…