On Wednesday, YouTube confirmed long-running rumors that it would soon start up an ad-free version of its service for a monthly fee. The company sent a letter to its partners that explain the forthcoming service, which will require them to agree to a new set of service terms that will go into effect starting June 15.
A post on TechCrunch offers the full text of the letter (right), which explains that YouTube will pay partners “55% of the total net revenues recognized by YouTube from subscription fees that are attributable to the monthly views or watchtime of your Content.” The post points out that “this is the same percentage associated with advertising revenues.” Basically, the new service shouldn’t change that much for YouTube partners making money off their videos. In fact, it could make them even more money, since advertisements will no longer serve as barriers to watching videos as they once did. And anyone who isn’t a subscriber can, of course, watch a video with an ad in it as usual.
As of now, there’s no word on how much the service will cost or when it’ll launch. It’s entirely possible that YouTube could transform into something that resembles Netflix a lot more closely, especially since movies are currently available for individual purchase already. It’s not entirely clear whether or not videos like that—specifically movies or TV shows that are available on YouTube—will be included in the paid-subscription version of the site.
If it did, however, YouTube would have a huge edge over Netflix in that it would provide an even bigger amount of content to choose from—and could potentially further democratize the ease with which independently made movies and shows could find widespread online distribution.
Since the new terms of service won’t take effect until this June, we likely won’t hear much more until then. YouTube’s corporate parent, Google, could make its plans for the new service plain pretty soon, though—or at least during the upcoming I/O conference.