YouTube considers ad-free subscription option
Michelle Clancy
| 29 October 2014
In a move that could redefine online video, YouTube may ditch ads and offer a subscription option for viewers in the not-too-distant future.

That's according to comments by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki during an on-stage interview at the Code/Mobile conference.

"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'," Wojcicki said, drawing the comparison between free and paid versions of mobile apps.

She added that YouTube has no intention of leaving its core model behind, however.

"Really, having the ad sales has been one benefit," she said. "I think it's important to point out that when YouTube was acquired by Google, it was still a pretty nascent business, and most of the people were hobbyists ... So I think what we've gotten is a long-term consistent investment."

YouTube dabbled in subscription channels last year, launching a pilot programme for a small group of content partners to offer paid channels with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month.

"We've been building a YouTube partner programme since 2007 that enables content creators to earn revenue for their creativity," said the company at the time. "We've watched them build amazing channels that have made YouTube into a news, education and entertainment destination one billion people around the world cannot do without." However, "one of the most frequent requests we hear from these creators behind them is for more flexibility in monetising and distributing content," it added. "We've been working on that."