YouTube to offer paid subscriptions this year

Google-owned video sharing site has reportedly reached out to video producers to submit applications to create for-pay "channels"; first paid channels may be introduced in second quarter this year.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

YouTube is planning to offer paid subscription on some content later this year, and is considering charging for online libraries and access to live events.

(Credit: YouTube)

Citing anonymous sources, AdAge reported on Tuesday, that YouTube has reached out to several video producers asking them to submit applications to create for-pay "channels".

The first paid channels will be available to consumers by the second quarter of the year, costing between US$1 to US$5 per month. The channels could also be introduced to the public at the Digital Content New Fronts event in late April, where digital media companies such as YouTube, AOL, and Yahoo host advertisers for presentations announcing new online video series.

In addition to episodic content, the Google-owned video-sharing site is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events through pay-preview, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.

YouTube had hinted in the past that it was mulling introducing paid subscriptions for its users, the report noted. At the AllThingsD media conference last year, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar discussed potentially poaching second or third-tier cable networks that were having trouble building larger audiences on cable TV to command subscription fees from distributors. The Internet distribution would give these networks a more direct line to their base with lower costs.

"If we have a subscription model, then absolutely, that's something that becomes possible," Kamanger said.

When approached by ZDNet, a YouTube spokesperson said 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."

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