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Google announced on Thursday the launch of a pilot program designed to offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month. The program kicked off with a small group of partners including the producers of Sesame Street, Big Star Movies, DHX Kids TV, National Geographic Kids, Primezone Sports, and TYTPlus.

According to Google, there are over 1 million channels generating quality professional content and revenue on YouTube, making paid channels a  natural way for content producers to increase their revenue beyond advertising sponsorship.

The paid channels work similarly to any online subscription service. Each channel offers a 14-day free trial, with a credit card needed to access it. After the free trial ends, your credit card will be charged every month until you cancel the subscription. You can cancel at anytime, but there are no refunds or credits for a partial billing period.

Paid subscriptions might include full episodes of channel programs, or extra premium content. After subscribing to a channel (which for now must be done through your computer), you can also watch paid content on YouTube supported mobile devices, and on your TV.

There are currently 53 YouTube channels participating in the paid launch program, which range across various categories including Music, Comedy, film & Entertainment. Subscriptions range from $0.99 per month to $6.99 per month, with a discount available for yearly subscriptions. Note that paid YouTube channels are not available worldwide, so head over to YouTube’s paid-channel section to check what’s available to you.

Google promises more channels will be added in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners. If you’re a content creator and are interested in starting a paid channel, you can apply here.

Will you pay a subscription fee to watch YouTube videos?

Source: YouTube Blog

  1. Ali Khan
    May 23, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Hate this idea from google.

  2. bben46
    May 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Looking through the current channels available, I don't see anything there I would watch even for free. I think this is a good idea though and hopefully they will get some more channels that will appeal to me. Then, the price point becomes a factor - will I be willing to pay $5 a month for just ONE channel? Maybe - for example a channel that guaranteed to show ALL of my college's football games live. - (Hey ESPN - wake up!!)

  3. k odu
    May 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    The big names, the big guns, the rich and powerful, the capitalists will soon join and push the small man out of the way. Youtube was create by ordinary people for the masses. It was not created by the rich and powerful. Google bought it and now wants to enrich the rich again. I hate the idea.

  4. k odu
    May 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    They should have left Youtube the way it has been for years. Everything cannot be commercialized. We are living in a new world.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      k odu, I'd agree with you if we in fact were living in a "new world." But unfortunately we're still living a in a market-driven, commercial economy where it costs money (skill and time) to produce great content. If we could transfer out of that type of economic restrictions, then it would definitely be better.

  5. macwitty
    May 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I do not mind paying for good quality content. It can also give some small producers an easy platform to distribute their material. But I can also see some who believe that they can make money on material that is not quite up to the pay-quality and they will probably be disappointed when no one subscribes. It might be a little turbulent time when much ends up behind the pay wall, but soon it will probably be much free material again

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I agree, producing quality content takes time and skill, and since we live in a largely market economy, it only makes sense to try to monetize your content. Consumers will decide if your content is worth paying for.

  6. Austin H
    May 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I just don't see this working out too well. Youtube is too flooded with non-quality videos to justify paying for subscriptions. Granted, I'm think more in the future when and if the doors open up to "regular" people. Also, once more and more channels start being paid, wouldn't a package deal be more cost-effective? I doubt many people would want to pay more than the cost of Netflix subscription for multiple channels. Then I could be totally wrong and this service could be totally awesome. I guess it's more on who you subscribe to rather than on Google/Youtube.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      I think the $1-3 price point will work for some channels, especially if the content is good. But then again I'm not a regular YouTube watcher.

  7. Bumferry
    May 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I notice that a number of these channels are aimed at children.
    The sceptic in me says that any parent who shares these channels with their children will be nagged by their kids into paying the fees to allow them to carry on watching and thats what youtube/google are after... so much for the "do no evil" tag line.

    Seems a bit of a nasty trick to play on parents...

    That being said as a none parent, I can't think of any youtube channel that is worth paying for.
    Yes those adverts can be annoying but its a small price to pay for something free.

    Don't see this lasting past the end of the year.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      You don't think channels that already have a huge following won't try to monetize their content?

  8. nuncauno
    May 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    So, if I understand this correctly, I subscribe to YouTube for the ability to subscribe to another channel, for an additional fee?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Nuncauno, I think it involves subscribing to individual channels.

      • nuncauno
        May 11, 2013 at 1:05 am

        I clicked on the link in the article of the list of channels. The two or three that looked worthwhile can already be subscribed to, without paying YouTube anything. And those two or three were British TV/Movies, not my cup of tea (pardon the pun).

  9. ReadandShare
    May 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Bet Youtube will be a heck of a lot more vigilant about removing "unauthorized" uploads from here on...

  10. Scott M
    May 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Bandwidth price is far too high for most users to take advantage of this.The same with Netflix and the others.There are only a small group of Companies who offer 300 plus gigs per month at an affordable price.They also are always at the mercy of the larger providers going to CRTC and screaming foul and having the rules and playing field changed.They likely would be unable to continue providing what was promised.It has been an ongoing battle in the Supreme Court for a number of years and while the small Companies won a small victory this past year,the battle is far from over.

  11. Alex Downs
    May 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I think this is a terrible idea and hope to god that "non-syndicated" or normal Youtubers not tied to a companies don't get this feature, because I wouldn't want to have to pay to be subscribed to my favorite channels. Likewise, I'd never expect people who liked my videos to have to pay to be subscribed to me. This is a good idea on paper, but Youtube's relevance is not exactly something that's going to stand the test of time if you ask me.

    • Harshit J
      May 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I think that this idea is good as your hardwork in making videos gets paid in money. Perhaps, $1 for one month is too cheap.

      • Bumferry
        May 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        How much of that $1/month would end up with the video creators though. There is no way Google/You Tube are not going to take a hefty cut of that dollar a month.

        • Bakari Chavanu
          May 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

          Good question, Bumferry.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        May 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

        Harshit J, the subscriptions start at $1 per month. Most channels I checked started $2.99+ per month.

  12. Sonesh Lakhani
    May 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I am not glad with this idea,,

  13. Hugh2D2
    May 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Great. Now get an official YouTube Roku channel and I'll be a happy guy.

  14. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 10, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Youtube now trying to become competitor to satellite TV subscription models. Let's see how it fares. However, for this model to succeed unlimited high bandwidth internet packages has to become really cheap in my country like India.

    • Koshy George
      May 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      India isn't the target market.

    • Rama moorthy
      May 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Please don't dream , .. we have to pay thousands for unlimited ,that too come with bottleneck FUP , and the internet will often disconnect ..

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      May 11, 2013 at 2:32 am

      @ Koshy George : With the way globalization is progressing, we really cannot predict the near future, can we? :D

      @ Rama moorthy : Fair Usage Policy is a bane to unlimited internet usage, but in my job profile once as the supervisor of a UK based ADSL ISP once, I can say you cannot always blame the ISPs for USP and lot of customers do not act very responsibly with P2P downloads of Gigs of data, which adversely affect other users in a shared network.

      • Rajaa Chowdhury
        May 11, 2013 at 2:36 am

        *USP typo error meant FUP

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