YouTube officially announced a pilot program for pay channels on its blog. In a move that was widely anticipated, the company will charge per-channel subscription fees for certain content—starting at $0.99 per month per channel. The program is launching with a selection of 53 channels, including Sesame Street and UFC. The new pay channels offer a 14-day free trial and discounted yearly rates. The actual monthly subscription rate varies depending on the channel—for example, the Sesame Street channel is $2.99 per month.
YouTube is rolling out 53 new pay channels, with more to come
YouTube stated that partners and content creators asked for more flexibility in monetizing their content, and this appears to be one solution. Due to the tremendous reach and popularity of YouTube.com, there can be no question that à la carte viewing has arrived. Considering the service already supports 2160p video and live streaming, this could be a very big deal—especially for live events.
The company indicated the pilot program is just the beginning and that over time users will encounter more pay channels. The blog post also suggests that YouTube will push certain channels to users, presumably based upon their viewing habits.
I recently wrote a piece about how YouTube declared victory over television and the challenges it faces with bandwidth and streaming quality. Has the time come for paid YouTube channels, or is the service still too unreliable?
Edited by imagic - 5/9/13 at 3:43pm