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Script competition

YouTube to launch pay service

YouTube star PewDiePie

YouTube star PewDiePie

YouTube is launching a subscription service offering exclusive and original videos from high-profile vloggers.

YouTube Red will cost US$9.99 a month and will initially be made available in the US at the end of October, before rolling out globally.

The ad-free service will feature exclusive content from YouTubers including Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg, Lilly Singh, The Fine Brothers and Joey Graceffa. Subscribers will be able to download the videos for offline viewing.

Among the shows available will be Scare PewDiePie, billed as a reality adventure series that pitches Kjellberg into a variety of horror scenes inspired by games.

Meanwhile, Sing It! will be a spoof of TV talent shows from The Fine Brothers, while A Trip to Unicorn Island is a film-length documentary following Lilly Singh on tour. Joey Graceffa is fronting an untitled show that puts other YouTubers into murder-mystery situations.

Some analysts have questioned whether the millions of fans who are used to looking at YouTube content for free will be willing to pay for premium content.

“It’s great to see YouTube offer an alternative to an ad-only model,” said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner. “Consumers want choice and options. But pay walls haven’t always done well and uptake depends on how users balance the attractiveness of the exclusive content and the pain of sitting through lots of ads.”

Meanwhile, Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said: “There is power in a single-channel offering like YouTube’s, but we believe there is better way to empower creators to share in the revenue they generate vs having to compete solely for play count.”

YouTube will offer US-based users a month’s free trial from October 28. International pricing and launches will be revealed shortly.

Yesterday, Disney announced it is launching a direct-to-consumer streaming service in the UK, making a catalogue of its films and TV series available online to subscribers.

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