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YouTube may launch subscription video service for a monthly fee

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YouTube may soon have a subscription option for its best original content. A comment buried in a Variety report reveals that the Google-owned video site is "exploring the prospect of launching its own subscription VOD service." The service would presumably offer ad-free streaming of certain video content that's part of the program. That could likely include videos from YouTube stars under the YouTube Originals banner.

If such a service were to hit the market, it's said that it would be similar to YouTube Music Key, which provides ad-free access to select music videos and free streaming from Google Play Music for an introductory price of $7.99 per month. The rumor comes from an unnamed executive at a company that partners with YouTube to produce video content.

The move into a subscription model can be seen as a response to pressure from competitors like Vimeo, Hulu, Vessel, and others. Such video sites are working to entice video creators and YouTube stars to host their videos on their sites in exchange for a more lucrative percentage of ad revenue. By introducing a paid subscription service, YouTube would not only be able to funnel more money to its content creators, but also bolster its bottom line — the Google unit is said to be essentially breaking even ten years after its founding in 2005.