Google’s YouTube, looking to squeeze new coin from the millions of free videos on the service, aims to launch a subscription-based VOD service later in 2015 that will strip out all ads. But there are many reasons to be skeptical that the initiative will yield much juice.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki first tossed out the idea last year. This spring, YouTube informed content partners that they must get on board — otherwise, their channels will be made private and won’t be eligible for ad-revenue sharing. YouTube is currently looking to launch the subscription-video service in late Q3 or early Q4 but may end up pushing back the launch to early 2016, according to sources.
In her VidCon keynote Thursday, Wojcicki barely touched on the video-subscription plans. Instead, she focused on enhancements to YouTube’s mobile apps, which include support for full-screen vertical video, and touted production tools at YouTube Spaces for shooting 360-degree and 3D video. In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, she insisted the video-subscription service was making progress despite some holdouts.
“There are some partners outstanding,” Wojcicki acknowledged, “and we’re still in the process of working through that with them.” She added that YouTube has secured agreements with content partners representing more than 90% of watch time.
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