There’s a rumor running around the internet that says YouTube is going to start charging for certain content streams. Don’t panic yet. You’ll still be able to watch people doing embarrassing things in public and cats doing cat things for free. The move would initially involve about 50 specific channels of curated content.
And when they say “channel” they mean a locked library of related content. For example, a studio might create a package of children’s programming, another partner might list a collection of business tutorials. For some, it’s a way of recycling old content that was previously created for TV, DVD or the web. For others, it’s about capitalizing on YouTube videos that are already working – why give it away if you can charge?
The rumored cost is $1.99 a month and there’s no word on how much of that will go to the content producer and how much into Google’s pocket.
Sure, it’s another potential revenue stream but right now, it’s more about testing the waters. Plenty of people gladly pay $7.99 a month to watch old TV shows and movies through Netflix. Why shouldn’t the same apply to YouTube? Seems to me, they could carve out a niche as the streaming site for instructional content. YouTube is the first place I go when I need a tutorial. I’ve used it to learn how to edit video on Windows Movie Maker and how to create a Halloween mini-scrapbook. Can’t get past a level on Angry Birds? You’ll find the answer on YouTube.
The big question is, will people pay to see their favorite YouTube stars? Suppose iJustine posted only one free video a month and you had to subscribe to see the rest? Would Gen Cers plop down $1.99 for access? I think so. It would be a tough sell at the start, but once people got used to the idea, they’d click and pay — as long as YouTube made it easy. Let me pay with my Paypal and I won’t think twice about clicking the buy button.
Those in the know say the YouTube will be announcing the new initiative sometime this week.
“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.”
Of course they’re looking into paid subscriptions. Every content producer on the web is looking into paid subscriptions – but YouTube is one of the few with enough clout to make it work.
Would you pay to watch YouTube?