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April 9, 2015

YouTube moots plans for ad-free subscriptions

Streaming service looks to take on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

By Jimmy Nicholls

YouTube is set to launch a subscription service to enable users to watch videos without being distracted by adverts.

So-called "pre-rolls" which play before select videos and traditional ads will seemingly be abolished under the service, with the revenue generated purportedly shared with those creating the content.

In an email to its users YouTube said: "By creating a new paid offering, we’ll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue."

Though historically a free service, the video platform has been recently adding premium features in a bid to diversify its income, which is heavily based on advertising.

In November the company launched Music Key which allows users to stream music from the Google Play store for a monthly fee, much like Spotify.

Responding to news reports, a YouTube spokesman said: "While we can’t comment on ongoing discussions, giving fans more choice to enjoy the content they love and creators more opportunity to earn revenue are always among our top priorities."

Analysts have noted that premium video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are allowing customers to watch video without being bothered by adverts.

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Though YouTube specialises in short content, often lasting a few minutes at most, it also allows users to rent films online, pitting it directly against many streaming services.

YouTube users can also block adverts through the use of tools such as Adblock, which certain security experts recommend as a general tool to protect against malicious advertising and unwanted web scripts.

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