Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl unveils the new paid subscription service at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, the U.S. October 21, 2015.

LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters

YouTube is launching a paid subscription service in the U.S. that will strip its videos of ads and steel the Google Inc. service against growing competition from both audio- and video-streaming competitors.

The service, called YouTube Red, was announced Wednesday and will launch Oct. 28 at a cost of $9.99 (U.S.) a month. In 2016, the service will begin rolling out exclusive series and movies for its members. The Internet giant also announced a new app called YouTube Music in conjunction with the subscription service that will focus, as with streaming-music competitors Spotify and Apple Music, on discovering new songs based on consumers' existing tastes.

YouTube Red is the latest in a series of incremental steps for Google to persuade consumers to pay for video and audio content, and to do so across all devices. YouTube is already the Internet's pre-eminent source for streaming both video and music, but the Netflixes, Hulus, Spotifys and Apples of the world threaten to chip away at that dominance.

Story continues below advertisement

Last November, Google launched a beta of the $8-a-month YouTube Music Key service that was specifically geared toward music videos. YouTube Red, which applies across the entire video service, will come bundled with the Google Play music-streaming music service, much like Music Key did. Users will be able to download content to their mobile devices to view offline or to listen in the background, as they can on audio services such as Google Play, Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

The latter three music services have begun this year to offer exclusive video content and highly personalized experiences. In launching YouTube Red, Google is trying to persuade its millions of users to buy into the convenience of sticking with its brand.

(Thanks to the iPhone and the iTunes store, Apple Inc. already has a lock on hundreds of millions of music fans worldwide, although it was late to the streaming game; CEO Tim Cook said this week that Apple Music had 15 million users, which is strong growth after a June launch, but small when compared with Spotify's 75 million.)

The original video content, meanwhile, pits YouTube more squarely against subscription video services, such as Netflix and Hulu. The first round of content leans strongly on existing YouTube celebrities, including PewDiePie, who has nearly 40 million subscribers, and Toronto's Lilly Singh, better known as Superwoman, who has close to seven million subscribers.

These stars, many of whom built their careers on a shoestring, have rabid fan bases that are crucial to keeping users on YouTube. But as YouTube fame is crystallizing as an accepted form of celebrity, they could also easily be lured away by other services by promises of bigger content budgets or scripted shows. Paid subscriptions could help bring more money in to keep these stars on the service where they started, and also legitimize YouTube as a full-on media company, rather than simply a video player.

A YouTube spokesman said there were no details yet on a Canadian launch. YouTube Red, he said, will launch only in the U.S. first, with "other major markets" to follow within the next year.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies