YouTube 'pay-per-view' premium channels coming soon
Visitors to Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube may soon have to pay to view content on so-called premium channels.
A report on the Financial Times said this could help YouTube compete with other online outlets like Netflix and Hulu, as well as major networks like CBS.
"The move, which has been in the works for months, could be announced as early as this week. It will apply to as many as 50 YouTube channels, people familiar with the plan say. Viewers will be able to subscribe to each channel for as little as $1.99 a month," it said.
"YouTube has moved away from its early days as a destination for user-generated content to professionally produced video that would not look out of place on television. In the past 18 months it has spent more than $200m on advances to dozens of start-up channels," it added.
The FT report said YouTube's subscription channels may compete with streaming service Netflix, which has more than 30 million subscribers, and Hulu.
Financial Times quoted a person familiar with the plan as saying the subscription service will let channel operators produce different content.
It added that while YouTube said it had “nothing to announce” regarding channel subscriptions, it was “looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”
The Financial Times report said YouTube’s channel partners include Howcast, World Wrestling Entertainment, The Onion and gamers' network Machinima.
Meanwhile, a separate article on The Atlantic Wire noted Google had already been floating the idea "for months if not years now."
"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," it quoted a YouTube spokesman as saying last January. — TJD, GMA News