YouTube Launches Paid Channels – Game Over TV?

Some say TV is dead. Maybe, maybe not, But TV is definitely changing. Here is more proof: YouTube has finally launched paid channels.

Here’s how it works. After a 14 day free trial period you have the option to subscribe to a channel. You can pay via credit card or Google Wallet and the price is on average of $2.99 a month, though some channels will be on offer from as low as 99 cents.

YouTube Paid channels

Some of the channels involved include: Rap Battle Network, Baby First Plus, BIGSTAR Movies, DHX Junior TV, Gravitas Movies, HD Net, National Geographic Kids, Nelvana’s Treehouse Direct, DocuRama, PrimeZone Sports, Laugh Factory VIP, PGA Digital Golf Academy, and UFC Select. Check out the full YouTube paid channels line-up here.

Sounds cool right? I have a few questions though. 

YouTube’s whole mission statement was free user-generated content. So is this the beginning of the end of free content on YouTube? We have seen a number of media outlets put up a pay wall recently. YouTube and parent Google relies on advertising to make money and the more views they get the more money they make. So while we won’t see YouTube become a fully paid service, this move will still leave a bitter taste in some users mouths. One other big negative is that some channels will still have ads – yes that’s after you pay.

Of course the flip side is this is a model that we’ve been moving to for some time and the success of Netflix and LoveFilm and Hulu etic won’t have been missed by YouTube.

If the audience is willing to pay for (and this is the important factor) GOOD QUALITY CONTENT then surely that’s ok? And I’m sure that will be decider if this program gets of the ground. If content creators can deliver quality programming worth paying for then people will pay for it and YouTube will move ahead with more channels.

This is also a cool move for content creators and will allow them reach a huge global audience with a level of demographic targeting that is not usually available to them and without the price barriers of traditional TV.

Here’s what YouTube had to say via their blog:

Starting today, we’re launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month. Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. For example, Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches. And UFC fans can see classic fights, like a full version of their first event from UFC’s new channel. You might run into more of these channels across YouTube, or look here for a list of pilot channels. Once you subscribe from a computer, you’ll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices.

This is just the beginning. We’ll be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners. And as new channels appear, we’ll be making sure you can discover them, just as we’ve been helping you find and subscribe to all the channels you love across YouTube. Just as the partner program empowered creators to take their channels to the next level, we look forward to seeing how this great community of creators moves ahead with a new way to reach the fan communities that made their channels a hit. You’ll be hearing more from us, and them, as we get creator and user feedback and build out this exciting offering.

So what do you think? Will you pay for content on YouTube? If so why? If not, why? Let Me Know!

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