-- YouTube is betting its most loyal viewers will be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for an ad-free experience.
While the Google-owned company is a billion-dollar juggernaut thanks to advertising revenue, its new YouTube Red subscription service gets rid of the advertisements and offers a slate of services that position the premium YouTube experience to be a Netflix competitor.
Launching next Wednesday, YouTube Red will cost $9.99 per month. While ad-supported YouTube will remain free, subscribers to YouTube Red will be able to watch ad-free videos across all their devices anytime they are signed into YouTube.
The new YouTube Red experience also lets users save videos to watch offline, perfect for a flight or when someone is away from Wi-Fi service. Videos can also be played in the background of a mobile device, quashing the need to keep a window open as a video plays.
The monthly fee also includes YouTube's new gaming app and access to Google Play Music, the company's music streaming service designed to compete with Apple Music and Spotify. YouTube Music, a service designed to let users discover new songs and artists, was also teased, but YouTube hasn't given it an official release date.
Following the lead of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, YouTube also announced it would provide member-only access to a lineup of original programming beginning early next year. YouTube Originals will feature offerings from some of YouTube's biggest stars.
"Scare PewDiePie" is a "reality-adventure" series starring video game-playing Swede PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) encountering "terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games."
The Fine Brothers, one of the top-earning duos on YouTube known for their reaction videos, will work on "SING IT!" It’s described as "a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture."
YouTube Red will be available next week with a free one-month membership offer extended to customers in the United States.