YouTube is exploring the idea of creating an ad-free version of its site, for a fee. At the Code/Mobile conference in in Half Moon Bay, California, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that an ad-free service is definitely an option, although no specific details were discussed at the time. Re/Code quotes Wojcicki:
YouTube right now is ad-supported, which is great because it has enabled us to scale to a billion users; but there are going to be cases where people are going to say, “I don’t want to see the ads, or I want to have a different experience.”
VISUAL CONTEXT: USE DURING TIMES OF DAY PER SOCIAL NETWORK
This is not the first time YouTube has aimed at different ways of monetizing its globally-popular site. It’s safe to say that the company has created an economic ecosystem as other social networks have done via content creators becoming sponsored by advertisers, and through other methods. The Google-owned company did explore a paid subscription service model in 2013, letting specialized content creators sell subscriptions to their channels, but that model has gotten little promotion since its inception. YouTube was rumored to be entering the realm of the subscription-based video streaming world á la Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others. But YouTube’s billion-wide user count has pretty much stuck to the free, ad-driven content.
A paid, ad-free service would be a big step away from YouTube’s model, and the content quality would likely be at the heart of such a service. While Wojcicki left much to be desired in terms of details around the future of the new system, she did emphasize the interest in giving users more choice as part of the impetus for offering a paid service as the alternative to ad-laden content.