New York — In a surprising move, the Google-owned video-sharing site is reportedly prepping to compete with traditional TV by debuting paid introduce new paid subscription-only channels, according to an AdAge report that cited “multiple people familiar with the plans.”
YouTube is fully geared up to offer paid subscription on some content later this year, and is considering charging for online libraries and access to live events. Quoting “multiple sources familiar with the matter,” AdAge reports that YouTube has already reached out to a small group of producers about developing channels that would require a fee.
“We have long contended that different content requires different types of payment models,” a YouTube spokesman confirming the news told AFP.
Now, it seems that Google is looking to offer another incentive for content creators to produce for YouTube, as well as another reason for advertisers to flock. “There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we are looking at that,” the spokesman said.
Apparently, the first paid channels will be available to consumers by the second quarter of the year, costing between US$1 to US$5 per month. The channels could also be introduced to the public at the Digital Content New Fronts event in late April, where digital media companies such as YouTube, AOL, and Yahoo host advertisers for presentations announcing new online video series.
Once the discussion is over, the paid channels that would likely be created by large media outfits, such as Machinima, Maker Studios, and Fullscreen, whose current channels have already drawn in YouTube users. But YouTube is also looking beyond its current roster of providers to find new producers.
Besides, YouTube is eyeing fill its long barren coffer with a plan drawn to charge for other items, including entire libraries of videos, live events, and even self-help or financial advice shows, AdAge said.
Talk of the Google-owned video sharing service one day charging for content surfaced in December of 2011 when YouTube unveiled a major redesign that showcases television-style channels. “The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform,” the representative said.
Tentatively, poised to launch as early as next quarter, according to the sources, the paid channels would initially be seen as an experiment, with just 25 or so to start.
“We are trying hard to marry the best of TV and the best of online,” YouTube vice president of product development Shishir Mehrotra said when the re-design was introduced.
Moreover, YouTube is the most popular application on Google TV, the service is intent on being available on the full array of platforms and hardware including videogame consoles, tablets, smartphones, and Internet-linked televisions.
On the whole, YouTube in the year 2010 began letting viewers pay to “rent” streaming movies or television shows. The whole idea is to offer viewers an alternative to traditional TV and bring in increased ad revenue as well. Providers would be able to place ads in their paid channels.