YouTube is “fine-tuning the experience”, according to Robert Kyncl, the online video service’s head of content and business operations, speaking at the Code/Media conference in California.
Kyncl added that a subscription offering was important to YouTube because some viewers did not wish to sit through advertisements.
YouTube has been exploring a paid, advert-free version of its service for some time, launching a pilot program in 2013 that allowed individual content providers to charge consumers a subscription fee to access a particular video channel.
The company also launched its YouTube Music Key service in an invite-only beta form in November, which allows users to watch music videos without adverts. Subscribers are shown adverts on other types of videos, however.
The move would allow YouTube to compete with companies such as Netflix and represent a significant change for the site, whose free ad-supported videos attract more than one billion users a month.
A total of 29 channels went live as part of the 2013 pilot, with partners including Sesame Street, UFC, National Geographic, PGA and Magnolia Pictures, charging $0.99 or more a month for paid channels that would sit alongside their free videos on YouTube.
Some of those companies later revealed that their paid channels had got off to a slow start.
“We had hoped to set the world on fire. We are not setting the world on fire right now,” said Adam Sutherland, National Geographic’s senior vice president of global strategy.
Kyncl also added that YouTube’s growth had accelerated despite competition from Facebook and others, and was eager to encourage its best content creators through schemes such as Google Preferred.
Launched last year, Google Preferred packages together the most popular YouTube channels and sells ads across them up front, in the same way that traditional TV ads are sold.
This article was written by Ben Quinn, for theguardian.com on Thursday 19th February 2015 12.57 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010