The New York Times has reported that YouTube is set to announce a plan to let some video makers charge a monthly subscription to their channels. It adds that there will be paid channels for children’s programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been asked by YouTube not to comment publicly yet. Some of the channels will cost as little as USD$1.99 a month.
The majority of videos on YouTube, a unit of Google, will remain free to all. By enabling the subscription option, YouTube is giving homegrown YouTube stars, start-ups and major media companies another way to profit from their work. YouTube will process the payments through Google Wallet, the system that Google’s app store uses. Paid subscriptions to YouTube channels are a long time coming; Google applied for a patent for a “self-service channel marketplace” in 2011, and the subscription plan has been an open secret in the industry almost since then. According to The New York Times, advertising will remain the basis of the company’s business, estimated to take in USD$1.3 billion in ad revenues last year, and set to climb to USD$2 billion this year, according to a recent report by Pivotal Research.
A YouTube spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the subscription plan. In a statement the company said, “We have nothing to announce at this time, but we’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”