YouTube paid

Channels will start at a 99 cent monthly subscription and have a 14-day trial period

YouTube made a big announcement today: paid subscriptions for certain channels. It had been rumored for some time that YouTube was readying some sort of paid model and today that becomes reality. This is the beginning of a pilot program that will likely see many more premium channels in the future.

So how does it work and how much is it? There are a select few YouTube Paid Channels launching today with that are partnering with YouTube to provide richer content starting at $0.99/month. Some channels offer discounts if you subscribe annually. All channels also offer a 14-day free trial and they insist that you use it to see how you like it. Once you subscribe, you can watch on your computer, mobile device and television.

For example, I am a huge fan of Big Think, which is a channel that brings together thinkers from around the world and produces short videos dedicated to specific ideas. They are launching a premium channel called Big Think Mentor (seen above), which will provide more videos and longer content. By making it paid, this allows them to gauge their audience and produce content that is demanded.

YouTube is a great platform and has always provided countless free videos with the support of ads. That model is still the same and will not change. However, I think YouTube wants to be able to offer its users the chance to access higher quality content aimed at a certain audience that is willing to shell out a little money. Let's be honest, 99 cents is not that much and if the creators use the platform and money strategically, I feelĀ  that it could be a success.

Source: YouTube


Reader comments

YouTube launches paid channels, aims to provide richer content


I think this is a great idea. 99 cents is not a lot of money, for higher quality content. Now, queue the "YouTube is supposed to be free" replies in 3, 2, 1...

Oh? Thanks for the heads up. For some reason, I expected all of them to be priced around 99 cents per month.

The UFC channel is $5.99/month. I like watching people punch each other, but that's a bit steep for what is being sold as replays of already-produced content. It's only a solid deal if they put up the PPV events shortly after they air.

If they can make it live streaming, then I'm all in. I have satellite just for ESPN and college football. If there was an ESPN option for streaming live events, I'd pay $10 a month easily, and get rid of the $75 a month payment I make now.

I love this idea. A la carte channels should be the future. I hate that I have to have MTV and VH1, but I have to pay extra for NatGeo or the Science channel.

The ones we've right now at YouTube as free will remains free, the ones they added as premium are not available before and we're paying for them elsewhere..... Why not at YouTube?

I don't think it will work out. Now if they could get some network and cable distribution that would be awesome. Subscription to your favorite shows. Now that's a great idea. At this current level, won't work.

Since they are not the producers to most shows.. it's not up to Google what can be carried or for what price. I agree with you that it would be awesome to subscribe to individual shows... however, how did they become your favorite shows? I don't know how to solve that hurdle.. there needs to a be a way to get people to watch a couple of episodes for free so we can decide if we like the show or not, then we can subscribe to them and watch them when we want.

The content obviously isn't there, but YouTube may be an even better distribution center than NetFlix. This may be just the incentive content providers need to break away from the cable providers.

If I had a dollar for every time Google used 'rich' or 'richer' in an announcement...

Also, I would absolutely pay to get access to all the shows that don't come to Australia until 6 months after the final season of something airs in the US...
Don't geo block or exclude australia, otherwise you lose the internet.

This is a great idea. It will do to television what Amazon has been doing to the book industry. It lowers the cost of entry for content producers, allowing them to skip the middle man and go straight to the consumers. With Amazon, anyone can publish a book and there are a lot of good novels coming from authors that are skipping the publisher and selling their books directly on Amazon. You can get some really good novels for $2-$5 instead of the $10-$20 the publishers sell them for. Television show creators currently have to convince a network to carry their show, but now they will be able offer it to consumers directly through YouTube. You know that show you really loved, but was canceled by the network after one season? That will become of thing of the past.

Until YouTube/Google can figure out how to get a 30 second video to stream, so it doesn't take 30 minutes to watch, there's no way I'll pay.
I'm unfortunately in an area with limited service providers and poor speeds.I can play a 3 hour movie streaming Netflix without a single second for buffering, yet a 2 minute YouTube clip, takes twenty minutes.

I don't think it will be a problem with their paid channels, because I believe YouTube has already been prioritizing their bandwidth. I too have had frustrations playing random clips that I encounter, with it pausing every couple of seconds. But then I clicked on Psy's new music video and it played immediately in high definition with no buffering issues. So, I think their prioritizing bandwidth by some formula, such as hits. I expect the paid channels would be prioritized over the free stuff.

Frankly, the mix of free and paid content on Amazon Prime is one of the reasons I use Netflix despite paying for Prime. It's a bit confusing and annoying trudging through things to figure out what's free and what isn't.

Maybe I'm a lazy old man. Grad school is ruining me.

The big question is, will there still be ads on those paid channels?

I wish I could pay to remove ads on some of my current subscriptions, its gotten really bad with ads lately...