Google is asking YouTube partners who utilize its free service to also include videos for the subscription service, Re/code reported. YouTube would allegedly classify those videos as private if they don’t, which could foreseeably obstruct searchability in the free environment.
“Imagine being a long-tail creator with 50,000 fans who predominantly [relied on advertising],” Sinton added. “The new paid subscription revenue [could come] at the expense of the core ad revenue. In an effort to compete with off-YouTube creator hubs, Google may well be pushing creators right to them with this move.”
YouTube’s creators now have other options.
It faces competition from all corners, including ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s new offering, Vessel, as well as Amazon’s rumored video-streaming service and a “platform-agnostic” sensibility from popular creators like Michelle Phan, who’s launching her own network dubbed Icon in partnership with digital network Endemol.
Multichannel network Whistle Sports, a company that works with popular YouTube stars to create and promote interactive sports content to some 15 million fans and subscribers, is in discussions with YouTube and Vessel for both ad-supported and subscription-based distribution, according to CEO John West.
“Hulu and Hulu Plus have proven there’s clearly a market for that, if done well and authentically,” West said. “I do think there is a certain subset of our audience – the superfans – who certainly may pay for window-gating of content or freemium content, but more than anything, we’re seeing a migration toward socially consumed video.”
West said that in addition to the creator-to-community conversation that YouTube favors, the younger end of its millennial demographic (ages 13–24) prefer short-form video discovered on platforms like Facebook, Twitter/Vine and Snapchat.
“Just how they migrated from TV to digital and YouTube, we now see they’re migrating across social platforms,” West said. “Our audience is twice as large on Facebook now as it is on YouTube.”