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TLDR:
1. Yes this is true, unlike those hoaxes about Facebook charging subscriptions.
2. Before folks get all upset - they are only talking about charging subscriptions for SOME content., in many cases probably new content, and the subscription thing will probably be a very limited trial at first. In other words, most of you will probably be able to watch the same old stuff for free (except for seeing ads) so read the article before you get all upset.

YouTube Set to Introduce Paid Subscriptions This Spring

A New Revenue Model For TV Networks and Video Producers
By:Jason Del Rey Published: January 29, 2013

A new chapter in online video is about to begin. YouTube is prepping to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform in its latest attempt to lure content producers, eyeballs, and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV, according to multiple people familiar with the plans.

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. As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.

It's not clear which channels will be part of the first paid-subscription rollout, but it is believed that YouTube will lean on the media companies that have already shown the ability to develop large followings on the video platform, including networks like Machinima, Maker Studios and Fullscreen. YouTube is also looking outside its current roster of partners for candidates.
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These people said YouTube could introduce the paid channels as early as the second quarter of this year. One of them said that the channels could be introduced to the public at the Digital Content New Fronts in late April, where digital-media companies such as YouTube, AOL and Yahoo host advertisers for presentations announcing new online-video series.

YouTube has been talking about the possibility of paid subscriptions for some time now. A year ago, at at AllThingsD media conference, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar talked on stage about the potential to poach second- or third-tier cable networks that were having trouble building big enough audiences on cable TV to command subscription fees from distributors. Internet distribution, the thinking goes, would give some of these networks a more direct line to their passionate base with lower costs .

"If we have a subscription model," Mr. Kamangar said at the time, "then absolutely that's something that becomes possible."

"We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models," a Google spokesman said, in a statement. 'The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that."

YouTube is treating paid subscriptions as an experiment. much like video rentals when it began in 2010. The initial group of channels will be small, likely about 25 at the outset. The revenue split from subscriptions is expected to be similar to the 45-55 split that is common for ads on YouTube. Partners will also have the option to include ads in their pay channels, but its unclear what form those will take.

YouTube is advising its current partners to consider carefully how their existing audience will react. Most have spent years building up a base of free subscribers through hard work and cross-promotion. Can they produce content worth paying for?

Michael Learmonth contributing.
Ask Jappleack's avatar

Greedy Consumer

probably why they arent allowing people to download their videoes anymore form certain things, or so ive heard. That and copyright issues.
David2074's avatar

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probably why they arent allowing people to download their videoes anymore form certain things, or so ive heard. That and copyright issues.


AFAIK YouTube has never 'allowed' people to download videos from their site.

As I understand it - it goes more like this:
1. Youtube exists and has content.
2. Third party software maker creates a tool (usually a browser ad-on) that will capture the stream and allow you to save it on your hard drive.
3. Youtube changes their site just enough to 'break' the download software and suddenly you can no longer download from Youtube.
4. Third party software maker analyzes what changed, makes and releases an updated version. User installs new version and can now download Youtube videos again.
5. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I don't want to delve too far into 'how to' for piracy because that is basically what it is but in generic terms that is how it works, or has worked, for some time now. And yes, there will always be copyright issues because AFAIK those downloader tools have no way of distinguishing a video where the creator says it is public domain from say, the latest pop music video or an episode of a TV program.

So while I believe Youtube will continue to fight download programs I don't think that has anything to do with the plans to charge a subscription for some content. They want to keep even the 'free' stuff safe because they make money off the ad revenue. If content providers become afraid everything they post will be stolen (regardless of the revenue stream method) they will stop posting or limit what they post to old stuff.
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*eyebrow raise* I don't see this working out very well for them.
Yeah it's confirmation bias, but I can't think of a single channel that I subscribe to that I'd feel compelled to pay a subscription for. I could probably find a legal alternative for free. From the channel owner side, I can't imagine many channels are going to feel thrilled about telling subscribers that they need to pay when those channel owners could just continue to earn revenue from ads. The amount of subscribers would probably drop off to the point that it wouldn't make much monetary sense.

The only thing I could think of right now is maybe, just maybe, if a network put up a channel that was HD episodes of some show and said "hey for $2 you can catch up on all the episodes of the series" that could possibly work. Doubly true if it's a premium channel and they decide not to make their own show services available to everyone that doesn't have a cable subscription.
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*eyebrow raise* I don't see this working out very well for them.


I think it has potential if they do it right.
Keep in mind they seem to be thinking mostly of material that would be new to Youtube (like cable shows that are not getting enough viewers) and low monthly subscription rates. Also it would be an optional ala carte kind of thing for some premium (read optional) viewing, not a blanket subscription charge for Youtube. As such the only criteria for success is generating enough profit to satisfy youtube and the entities providing the additional content. The average Youtube user could embrace it or not.

I do think if they went to site wide subscription or otherwise made too much existing content available only by subscription that would flop. Millions of folks are willing to tolerate some ads to watch various silly videos for free who probably would not pay a subscription. Also, some copyrighted material is in itself the advertisement. For example Robot Chicken and various other cartoons and anime have skits from episodes and old episodes for people to watch in hopes it will generate more buzz for their current offerings. Giving that away for free is more likely to get someone unfamiliar with a program to click on it just to check it out and see if they like it.

But yeah, the whole idea might flop. Like most other products it really depends on what they offer and what they charge for it.
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I think they'd be better off going after big name producers and getting them to make shows that they'd charge for instead of a whole channel.
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.No way would I pay to use Youtube.
It's bad enough that not only did they merge with Google and become copyright nazis, but they play ads constantly on nearly every video and they make enough money from that.


So long as I can keep making videos I could careless.
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I would never pay a subscription fee to watch certain channels on YouTube.
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This worries me as a Youtube blogger.
Next thing you know, they'll be charging for you to upload videos.
This could either go 2 ways for Youtube, knock them down or improve. I see why they are doing it to make more money. Is it going to bite them in the bum ?User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
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MisdreavusPrincess
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User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.No way would I pay to use Youtube.
It's bad enough that not only did they merge with Google and become copyright nazis, but they play ads constantly on nearly every video and they make enough money from that.




This
David2074's avatar

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Anne Packrat
I think they'd be better off going after big name producers and getting them to make shows that they'd charge for instead of a whole channel.


Big name producers are less likely to be interested. As I understand it YouTube is not buying the content and reselling it themselves. They are simply providing an additional avenue a producer can use to to market a product. This makes sense from a business standpoint because it is less risky for YouTube to take a slice of the profits if there are any than to spend a bunch of money on a program / content that possibly no one would buy. Your big name producers are already making lots of money via more traditional avenues (hence the reason they are 'big name') and are likely to be less interested. On the other hand if this method became popular with the user base I'm sure Youtube would be happy for some big name programming to use it.
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Dapper Dabbler


I have a feeling this is going to bite them in the a**.
I read another article where they cite the success of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. The thing about those sites is that they have good quality tv shows and movies available. Youtube is wanting you to pay to watch random people do stupid/funny stuff.
This is not going to go over well at all for them.

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