YouTube Red will allegedly debut in the United Kingdom and more European markets in 2017, The Telegraph reports. Google is reportedly in the process of negotiating with various music labels and other rights holders as the Mountain View-based company is looking to launch the premium version of YouTube in Europe as soon as possible. Regardless, the tech giant allegedly still has to make a lot more deals before that happens, so it remains to be seen whether YouTube Red manages to debut in Europe by the end of the year. Neither Google nor YouTube commented on this report.
Google's efforts to launch YouTube Red in more territories come shortly after the company started dedicating more resources to exclusive content for its paid streaming service. While the tech giant has long been rumored to be working on another competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it's now seemingly trying to turn the paid version of YouTube into that competitor. In addition to exclusive content, YouTube Red allows users to watch videos offline and listen to music in the background. For $10 per month, the service also comes bundled with a subscription to Play Music and eliminates ads from YouTube. Regardless, the Google-owned company is apparently struggling to attract more users to YouTube Red for several reasons. Among other things, the service is still only available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. On the other hand, competing services can be accessed in dozens of countries and offer more exclusive content. YouTube is now apparently looking to address both of these issues over the course of 2017.
The company's efforts to negotiate new deals with rights holders may be stifled by the fact that most of them aren't satisfied with their existing royalties. Despite making over $1 billion in advertising money from YouTube ads last year, the music industry often criticized the Google-owned company over their cut of the profits. Given how YouTube Red royalties aren't based on ads since the service doesn't serve advertisement, Google's talks with music labels over launching this product in Europe may become prolonged and convoluted. It remains to be seen whether rights holders will manage to use Google's ambitions as leverage to negotiate higher royalty fees from YouTube, or whether they'll agree to some kind of a compromise.