YouTube cofounder endorses paid version

YouTube is preparing to launch an ad-free subscription service, perhaps by year-end

YouTube's mobile app is pictured on October 17, 2013.

YouTube's mobile app is pictured on October 17, 2013.

As Google prepares to launch a subscription version of YouTube, the move has been endorsed by at least one interested party: YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley.

YouTube has grown massively since its launch in 2005 and its acquisition a year later by Google. But to support its continued growth, the site needs to provide the right tools for people to create and post videos, even if that might result in a cost to users, Hurley said.

"You have different forms of [video on demand]," he said, suggesting that some might be worth paying for. YouTube needs tools to help people create better content, determine how to make money from their video, and charge subscribers, he said.

Asked if YouTube should be charging consumers to watch certain videos, Hurley said, "I think that's an option."

Hurley made his remarks in an interview with Bloomberg Television that's due to be aired Thursday evening. A transcript of excerpts was provided to reporters.

Google is said to be readying an ad-free YouTube subscription service to launch by year-end. It's expected to cost around US$10 per month.

YouTube already offers a paid version of its service for music fans that launched last year.

During the Bloomberg interview scheduled to air later Thursday, Hurley was critical of some elements of YouTube's business. Major studios and television networks can often negotiate higher prices for advertising than independent video creators, he said, but there should be a more level playing ground.

"Labels and networks shouldn't get better deals than the regular creator," he said.

In 2013, YouTube standardized its revenue sharing model, giving itself a 45 percent share of ad revenue from big networks and indie creators alike. But some smaller creators have found it difficult to make money through ads.

YouTube is a significant source of ad revenue for Google. The average spend per advertiser has increased by more than 60 percent from last year, Google reported last week.

The full interview with Hurley will air on Studio 1.0 at 7:30pm Eastern Time and again at 7.30pm Pacific Time. The live stream will be available at http://www.bloomberg.com/live

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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