YouTube to Test Paid Subscription Channels on Limited Scale

While online video continues to grow, one challenge has involved effective revenue models. YouTube is addressing that hurdle with its decision to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform. It is the Google-owned company’s “latest attempt to lure content producers, eyeballs, and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV, according to multiple people familiar with the plans,” writes Ad Age.

To get started, YouTube reached out to a small group of channel producers to see if they’d like to submit applications to create pay channels.

“As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows,” according to Ad Age.

It is speculated that YouTube could introduce these pay channels as early as the second quarter of this year.

“We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models,” said a Google spokesman. “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.”

For YouTube, this will be an experiment to see if the paid subscription model can work on the site. It will start with a small group of channels, likely around 25, and see how things go from there.