YouTube may soon launch its own subscription-based video-on-demand service where it can offer ad-free videos that users can access based on a monthly fee.

The video service, which may include content coming from YouTube stars under the banner dubbed as "YouTube Originals," is akin to YouTube Music Key wherein users can access ad-free music videos and stream from Google Play Music at a monthly charge of $7.99.

Launched in beta in November 2014, YouTube Music Key also offers added features to users such as playlist compilation, music video downloading, and music discovery on artists depending on the user's musical preferences.

The decision to launch a subscription model is seen as the company's response to pressure from rival video sites such as Vessel, Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo and others. The same sites would offer video-hosting services to video creators and YouTube stars while assuring them of a more lucrative percentage in terms of ad revenue.  

According to a previous report in TechTimes, the prospect of launching a paid subscription to users is part of YouTube's money-making scheme. In exchange, the company would offer ad-free videos to users of the site.

While it is true that YouTube is primarily an ad-supported site which has allowed the company to scale to a billion users, there will come a time when people would choose not to see any ads at all.

"Consumers generally will either choose ads or pay a fee, which is an interesting model," said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. "We're thinking about how to give users options."

It remains to be seen whether YouTube's plan to launch a VOD service will have to face the same obstacles that were defined prior to the launching of its music subscription service. These include deciding on the pricing tiers and the feature that will be considered inclusive in every signed-up plan.

YouTube may also want to take advantage of the site's record of unique monthly visits, which is said to have reached more than 1 billion. The site also sees large amount of video content being shared among its users. Every minute, new videos are uploaded which are enough to provide at least three months worth of videos that are available for streaming.

There's also the prospect of being able to reach out to new users of handsets since 50 percent of viewing on YouTube comes from smartphones. With the increasing competition among big names in the smartphone industry, YouTube sees great opportunity in increasing its user base with the potential of turning them into paying subscribers.

Photo: Rego Korosi I Flickr 

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