YouTube Red, the subscription-based service from Google, will offer a mix of music videos, exclusive shows and a soothing lack of advertising, the company said as it announced the service.
Among the first YouTube stars to have content on the new service are Felix Kjellberg, AKA PewDiePie (League of Legends superstar), Lilly Singh AKA Superwoman (YouTube celebrity), The Fine Brothers (video producers Benny and Rafi Fine), and Joey Graceffa (actor and YouTube personality).
The service will launch late October, first in the US and then worldwide. It will cost $9.99 (£6.46) when it rolls out.
Aside from the exclusive content, YouTube Red users will also have content without ads, as well as the option of downloading videos for offline viewing. YouTube Red will also bundle in a subscription to the Google Play Music audio-only streaming service, as it extends and replaces the YouTube Music Key service that has been in a public beta test since November 2014.
The Guardian (opens in new tab) says a stand-alone YouTube Music app is also in the works, and should be released by Christmas this year.
“We believe in the advertising business. 99.9 per cent 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 [watch time] continues to grow at an astonishing 60 per cent year over year. There is nothing we are taking away from there, merely adding onto it.”
Aziz Musa, CEO of Forbidden Technologies and Co-founder of video social network eva commented: "YouTube risks alienating brands by effectively omitting a valuable platform for them to target consumers. The solution therefore for brands, is to create compelling original content with real people, which users actively seek out and watch - rather than the traditional and unhealthy reliance on a forced few seconds before the viewer clicks the ‘Skip Ad’ button.
"The banner advert and the pop-up is dead in the modern world of marketing. Millennials are becoming numb and frustrated to this form of advertising, they instead want a relationship and a connection with a brand - they want to see the people behind the faceless corporation!"