For $9.99 per month, you get access to ad-free YouTube, plus exclusive big budget content from its biggest stars, such as PewDiePie, and other, more TV-like shows.YouTube hasn't yet released any subscriber numbers for the service, so we asked the company's VP of content partnerships, Kelly Merryman, how it has been performing so far.Speaking to Business Insider at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Merryman said YouTube Red was very much in the "early days" but that YouTube is "happy" and "encouraged" by its progress.
YouTube Red is hoping to release 15 to 20 shows this year, Merryman said, adding that the company is currently A/B testing the type of content its paid subscribers are interested in.
YouTube stars ... in VRYouTube is also currently training its most popular stars on how to create virtual reality (VR) content, Merryman said. Google has set up VR cameras in each of its studio spaces across the world in offices including Los Angeles, London, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, and Toronto.Merryman said: "You start to think about the global experience of coming in and having access to use [the studios] and also getting some training about how to think about this. There's definitely a desire for us too. We don't think we have all the answers to VR. We think we are creating a new technology that the creative industry can come in and try out and experience. We think that the creative industry is actually going to figure out all sorts of new formats and our goal is to make it simple and easy to use and bring the cost-point down."
The types of creators invited in to use the studios (for all sorts of training and networking, not just VR) are tied to the number of subscribers they have - although that differs by market - Merryman said.
At Google's annual I/O event, the company signaled its commitment to VR by announcing it was integrating a "VR mode" into Android, as well as a new VR platform called "Daydream."