"Users listening to music on Google Play, for instance, could get recommendations for premium video content," said Sam Rosen, an industry analyst at ABI Research who studies digital video services. Or, a user exploring music videos could add a song to his or her video playlist, then automatically have it added to his audio collection on another Google-owned service.
There's a good chance the premium content would also include live streaming concerts, something YouTube has already offered on its free site.
In sum, YouTube may not be looking to monetize what it already has, but something else. The wild card could be whether the company can reach the right deals with publishers and labels.
"Google's stance here fits into a broader phase in the evolution of digital content," Midia's Mulligan said in a blog post about earlier reports of YouTube's premium service. Technology giants like Google, Apple and Amazon, he said, are testing how far they can push their partners to strengthen their already strong products.
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