According to sources around the web, YouTube is prepping to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform this coming spring. This is seen as an attempt by the online video behemoth to lure content producers, eyeballs, and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV.
Rumor has it that YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. Rumor also has it that the first paid channels will cost between $1 and $5 a month, and in addition to episodic content, YouTube will consider charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view.
The news of this happening isn’t really news as YouTube has been talking about the possibility of paid subscriptions for some time now, but now it’s looking like it’s nearing a go.
No doubt that YouTube will initially treat this paid subscriptions thing as an experiment. The revenue split from subscriptions is expected to be similar to the 45-55 split that is common for ads on YouTube, according to an article in AdAge on this subject. Partners will also have the option to include ads in their pay channels, but it is not yet clear what form those will take.
YouTube is advising its current partners to consider carefully how their existing audience will react as many of them have spent years building up a free subscriber base through hard work and cross-promotion. What do you think: will YouTube channels be able to produce content worth paying for? And more importantly, would you pay for it?