YouTube has generally revolved around free videos and advertising revenue, but change is in the air. Google seems to be looking for ways to monetize YouTube as it prepares to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels. The video sharing site has already asked a small group of content producers to create separate channels where users would have to pay to access. For now, these channels will cost viewers between $1 and $5 a month.
Paid subscription has been in the minds of YouTube officials for quite some time now. At an AllThingsD media conference last year, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar had talked about the potential to poach second- or third-tier cable networks that were having trouble gathering a large enough audience base to ask for subscription fees from distributors. With Internet distribution, these content creators would have a more direct line to their loyal fans at a lower cost.
Along with the paid episodic channels, YouTube is also planning to charge for content libraries and access to pay-per-view style live events as well as self-help or financial advice shows. At this point paid subscriptions are still on an experimental basis so the initial group of channels will be small, but will most likely include networks that have the ability to gather large followings such as Machinima or Maker Studios. The revenue split from subscriptions is expected to be similar to the 45-55 split common for ads on YouTube. Sources have said that these experimental paid channels could be out as early as the second quarter of the year, while another has said that it could be introduced at the Digital Content New Fronts in late April, where digital-media companies such as YouTube, AOL and Yahoo host advertisers for presentations announcing their new online-video series.
With most of their user bases built around free content, YouTube is advising its current partners to consider how their existing audience will react to a shift to a paid subscription model. A different approach that has worked for some content creators through the crowdfunding path. One such example is the crowdfunding efforts of Freddie Wong who managed to gather $273,725 from Kickstarter to develop an action/comedy series called Video Game High School.
“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.”
It’s been seen that people are willing to pay for premium content so this experiment might just actually work. Would you be willing to pay for premium content on YouTube?
Source: Ad Age