With its fee-paying subscription service Red, YouTube wants to be in the black

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YouTube, the world’s biggest video-sharing website, is set to launch a new paid-subscription service, hoping its billion-viewer audience will be willing to fork over a monthly fee to avail of ad-free and exclusive content.

Many of the site’s biggest names and producers, including Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg, Lilly Singh, The Fine Brothers, and Joey Graceffa – whose subscribers and views add up to millions – will all make new shows that will only be available to subscribers to the YouTube Red service.

Expected to launch at the end of the month in the US, and to cost $9.99 (€8.95) a month, with the service set for global roll out in the coming months. Subscribers will gain access to the exclusive content, as well as the ability to stream all YouTube videos without advertising, and will be able to download videos to watch offline.

The package also includes a subscription to Google Play Music, Google’s answer to Spotify and Apple Music. Google, which acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65bn, is hoping to entice new consumers to its music-streaming service as it is replaces the existing YouTube Music Key.

 

“We believe in the advertising business. 99.9% of the content on YouTube will be free, as it always has been,” chief business officer Robert Kyncl told The Verge as YouTube Red was announced.

“The world that all of our advertising partners are used to remains alive and well and [the time viewers spend on YouTube] continues to grow at an astonishing 60% year over year. There is nothing we are taking away from there, merely adding onto it.”

PewDiePie, whose media empire started with videos of him playing computer games but has since seen him become one of the most influential media moguls operating today, will star in a new series, Scare PewDiePie. Co-created by the makers of the zombie-apocalypse drama The Walking Dead, the show will place number-one YouTuber in a number of horror scenes from hit computer games.

 

Sing It! will see The Fine Brothers lampooning TV talent shows, while A Trip to Unicorn Island is a film-length documentary following Lilly Singh on tour. You can find a full list of the shows here.

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