YouTube Mulls Offering An Ad-Free Subscription Option

Which do you despise more, advertisements or paying for a service when you've grown accustomed to it being free? Don't feel obligated to answer now, though you should put some thought into the question in case YouTube decides to charge a subscription fee for ad-free access to its streaming video collection. While nothing is yet imminent, there's a good chance it will happen.

Susan Wojcicki, a long-time Google executive who took over the company's YouTube operation earlier this year, said that a paid subscription model is currently being worked on, The Wall Street Journal reports. The goal is to pull in more revenue -- and profit, of course -- from a service that Google paid $1.65 billion for eight years ago.

Image Source: Flickr (Rego Korosl)

According to comments Wojcicki made during the Code Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay, California, last night, the plan is let users decide whether to pony up for the paid subscription or continue to use the service like it is today, with ads. This would be a first for YouTube, which has never charged a subscription before. YouTube has, however, allowed individual users to create subscription-based channels.

"We rolled out the ability for an individual channel to do a subscription. We've also been thinking about other ways that it might make sense for us," Wojcicki said. "If you look at media over time most of them have both ads and subscriptions."

One thing working in YouTube's favor with its proposed approach is that it would be taking a Netflix-like approach to subscriptions. Whereas services like Hulu charge a fee and display ads, Netflix allows you to watch movies and TV shows uninterrupted.