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YouTube’s ad-free subscription service may finally launch in October

Despite all the ad revenue YouTube generates from more than a billion users watching hundreds of millions of hours of video every single day, the Google-owned company still has a hard time turning a profit.

Keen to do more than simply break even, YouTube has for some time been looking to incorporate a subscription-based offering, last year launching Music Key that brings ad-free music, background play, and offline access to the platform. However, the service has remained in limited beta testing since its launch last November.

In the last 12 months there’s been additional talk of its subscription program broadening to all video content, not just music, with a report Friday appearing to confirm an imminent rollout of such a service.

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Re/code said it’s seen an email sent to YouTube content owners asking them to agree to new license terms linked to the upcoming service. The message offers them a stark choice – agree to new terms by October 22 or else “your videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States.”

The mentioned date backs up earlier claims from industry sources that YouTube is looking to introduce its new ad-free service toward the end of October, though going by the email, it looks likely to be a U.S.-only offering at launch.

So what kind of service can we expect? Well, it seems YouTube is looking to bundle Music Key and the new offering into a single package. A monthly payment of $10 has been suggested in multiple reports over the last few months, a fee that would keep it in line with others in the streaming space.

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The email sent to content owners speaks of “a new ads-free version of YouTube [that will] create a new source of revenue over time supplements your advertising revenue.”

It’s thought creators will also have the option to continue offering some videos with ads while at the same time offering bonus content exclusively to subscribers.

And the name of the new service? “Red,” according to Android Police, which spotted the term following a recent update to the YouTube app. Significantly, the name was removed just hours later in a subsequent update.

Google’s holding a big event on Tuesday promising “new treats,” so let’s see if they unveil the new YouTube subscription service then.