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YouTube To Launch Ad-Free Subscription Model

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Internet juggernaut Google is prepping to introduce a new business model that would remove advertisements for YouTube subscribers.

According to Robert Kyncl, the online video service's head of content and business operations, YouTube is planning on "fine-tuning the experience," in hopes of keeping subscribers clicking on videos. The admission took place during the Code/Media conference in California.

Kyncl believes that offering a change to subscribers was not only important to them, but to YouTube, because "some viewers did not wish to sit through advertisements." This very apt statement is noted in analytics that finds YouTube watchers becoming antsy when commercials are played before their favorite video, with most skipping the advert all together.

YouTube has been exploring a paid, advert-free version of its service for some time, launching a pilot program in 2013 that allowed individual content providers an opportunity to charge consumers a subscription fee to access a particular video channel. In addition to the private beta, YouTube's Music Key service, which launched as an invite-only opportunity in November, allows users to watch music videos without advertisements.

The lateral move by YouTube to change their business model would enable the company to compete with others such as Netflix and represent an intriguing change in the landscape of digital ad sales. 29 channels on YouTube went live as part of the 2013 pilot, with names like Sesame Street, UFC, National Geographic, PGA, and Magnolia Pictures all charging $0.99 or better for paid, viewable content that sits alongside their free videos on YouTube.

"We had hoped to set the world on fire. We are not setting the world on fire right now," said Adam Sutherland, National Geographic's senior vice president of global strategy. This marks an interesting point for those curious in joining the ad-free movement, but it might not produce instantaneous results.

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