It’s not the first time we’ve heard the rumors, but sources speaking to The Verge say YouTube’s subscription packages are almost ready to roll. While much of the content on the video-sharing portal is going to remain free, users will be able to pay a monthly fee to access music videos and other types of premium content from the site’s biggest stars.
Despite having a steady stream of more than a billion visitors, YouTube reportedly still struggles to make a profit. It’s also facing pressure from the record labels who would rather not give away all of their best content for free, even if there are ads running before, after, and alongside it. The obvious solution to both of these problems is a Netflix-style subscription fee for users who want the best that YouTube can offer.
According to this weekend’s report, the subscription options are going to be in place before the end of the year. The Verge says that “multiple sources” have confirmed that the site is about to “get serious” about a paywall plan, with music videos and as-yet-unspecified premium clips first in line. Apparently some content could be made free for a certain amount of time before requiring a fee to view.
The music option will build on the existing YouTube Music Key, which the labels feel Google isn’t doing enough to promote — it offers ad-free listening, offline access and background playback on mobile, as well as everything that Google Play All Access has to offer as well. YouTube itself hasn’t offered any fresh comment on the rumors.
As for the other subscription package, it may be a way of helping YouTube hang on to its most popular vloggers in the face of increasing competition from Facebook. The biggest names on the site will have the opportunity to keep some videos available with accompanying adverts and then offer some exclusive content for subscribers only. YouTube has only just launched its Twitch competitor to attract fans of live gaming streaming.