Last November, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki spoke candidly on the potential of paid subscriptions coming to the platform. Then just a few months ago, we saw that idea come to pass in a cryptic letter from YouTube. Now, YouTube's cofounder Chad Hurley has come out in full support of an ad-free, subscription-based model.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Hurley said that YouTube will continue to amass a powerful set of tools, resources and creators for the platform, even if that might involve charging its customers. He added that there are "different forms" of video-on-demand, hinting that some content could be charged for while others could remain free. He did say that he thought it was an option when asked if viewers could necessarily be charged for specific content.
This should come as no surprise, as YouTube has been locking up content creators with lucrative and exclusive contracts over the past year in order to keep them on the platform. However with a rumored price of $10 per month for the ad-free service, it would be more fitting if the company simply charged the monthly fee for the ability to not see ads before, during and after the videos.
Google's recent quarterly statement showed just how much the company relies on YouTube for revenue. YouTube's advertiser spending saw a jump of over 60 percent from last year, and with that much money riding on the success of the video service, it's time for YouTube to reinvent itself and generate more revenue or it may end up being usurped by an up-and-comer.
Either way, the success of a potential ad-free option relies solely on how many users would pay for that service. With Google's own browser having such an easy way to block ads, creators are already struggling to get their ads seen with their videos. What would entice a viewer to toss out the ad-block and pay $10 per month instead? I know that the web is free because of advertisers, but not everyone does, nor do they care. How do we make them care? Is it by charging for premium content?