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YouTube considering premium service

social media Updated: Oct 29, 2014 11:00 IST
Peter Kafka

The video sharing platform is examining the potential for subscription services.

During an interview with Peter Kafka and Liz Gannes at the Code/Mobile conference this week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that the company is actively looking at alternatives to its current ad-supported revenue model.

"YouTube right now is ad-supported, which is great because it has enabled us to scale to a billion users; but there's going to be a point where people don't want to see the ads," Wojcicki said.

As the site continues to grow in popularity -- over 1 billion active monthly users and counting -- so do the number of ads that crop up before and during videos. And as annoying as these commercials are becoming, having to pay for content that was traditionally free of charge could prove more frustrating.

And that's why Wojcicki stressed that things are still at an early stage and that the subscription would be a choice rather than mandatory.

The way that consumers access YouTube is also changing: 50 percent of visitors are now on mobile devices and, according to Wojcicki the length of time of each visit or viewing session is also growing by 50% year on year.

The idea of charging users a subscription for accessing YouTube content isn't in itself a new idea. In May 2013 the site ran a pilot scheme with 53 of its most popular channels including the UFC, National Geographic Kids and Sesame Street where access to shows would be via a monthly subscription of as little as 99 cents.

As well as videos, YouTube is also working on a music streaming service which would also throw a paid-for premium tier into the mix. Although Wojcicki confirmed that the service is still in development, she would neither confirm nor deny that it would launch before the end of 2014.