Paid Subscriptions Coming to YouTube

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YouTube is preparing to launch channels with paid subscriptions to its video lineup. Channel owners can apply to have a premium channel, and YouTube is hoping that channels with specially designed content will draw more users. It looks as though premium channel subscriptions will cost somewhere between $1 and $5, with the first channels launching as early as the second quarter of this year.

What looks to be fewer than 30 channels initially will be run by those who have submitted applications and are approved by YouTube. YouTube has already encouraged existing channel producers to submit applications, with an expected revenue split being the 45/55 agreement that YouTube currently has with their partners. Channel producers will still be allowed the option of using ads in their paid subscription channels, and cautioning their partners to be sure that their followers will be willing to pay for their channels. If they have a good following with their free subscription, they will want to be sure that their content is strong enough to warrant a paid subscription.

Said a Google spokesperson in a statement, “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models. The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we’re looking at that.”

YouTube initially brought up the idea of paid subscriptions at last year’s AllThingsD media conference, when CEO Salar Kamangar spoke of the idea that Internet distribution would give flailing cable shows and networks a less expensive platform to cater to their rabid fan bases (think Arrested Development). Said Kamangar, “If we have a subscription model, then absolutely that’s something that becomes possible.”

We’re sure that, while those with delusions of grandeur will alienate their fan base, this also has the potential to allow brilliant minds, with little means, the opportunity to make their big break.

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