Google is reportedly getting ready to launch a paid subscription service for a number of YouTube channels, costing as little as $1.99 USD each per month.
This new move to a paid platform will reportedly increase per-video revenues so that content creators can generate TV shows and movies with a higher budget than what trickles in from the current advertising scheme. Google is expected to announce something official by the end of the week.
Google has openly worked on building this subscription service for more than a year. The project began to accelerate thanks to the growing momentum of Netflix (30M), Hulu (4M) and Amazon which offers both third-party and original content to subscribers. Initially YouTube's system may be applied to around fifty YouTube channels, sources claim.
So far it's unknown whether YouTube's initial pay-per-channel batch will be based on already-established channels, or new YouTube video channels created specifically for this new pay platform. The New York Times suggests that it will be a second source of revenue for Google partners on YouTube, meaning the new batch could be new "premium" versions of existing channels.
Insiders told the paper that subscription channels will include children's programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas. Some of the content providers who worked with YouTube on the subscription model are looking to convert existing viewers into paying customers. Others are looking to distinguish themselves from the rest by offering old TV episodes, for example.
The New York Times points out an interesting fact: this new YouTube subscription model essentially allows channel owners to become their own miniature Netflix and Hulu-type services, only not quite so grand in scale. An already-established "free" channel could be used to promote the "premium" channel by way of trailers, behind-the-scenes footage and more.
Many partners had planned to promote their pay-channels on Thursday, but now they're expected to announce their plans even sooner thanks to the recent press coverage accelerating Google's plans. Naturally Google and YouTube refuse to confirm any upcoming announcements, but did acknowledge that YouTube is working on a subscription model outside the current rental and ad-supported models.
"We have nothing to announce at this time, but we’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer," a YouTube spokesperson said on Monday.
Currently it's unknown how content providers will split the subscription-based revenue with YouTube. Sources claim that a number of YouTube's most popular video makers have passed on the subscription model, and have elected to sit back and watch what other content providers do.