Rumors that YouTube was working on an ad-free subscription service have been popping up for quite some time and, while YouTube did dabble in this area with its music-centric Music Key service, there haven’t been any major steps towards adopting a subscription service. According to Variety, however, YouTube is in the process of aggressive licensing discussions with various partners in preparation for such a service.
The subscription-based video on demand market could see a significant shake-up this year as it was reported that YouTube has started to negotiate licensing deals for its own service to compete with services like Netflix and Hulu. Variety quoted an unnamed YouTube partner as saying that the company not only wanted to discuss a licensing deal, but was extremely aggressive in its approach. “An exec at one YouTube partner says reps from the vidsite reached out late last year about an SVOD licensing deal. But the offer came with a warning: If the partner didn’t agree to the terms of the subscription service, it would be excluded from any future ad revenue — a tactic YouTube has used in dealing with independent music companies that refused to get onboard with Music Key.”