YouTube, the world’s largest video-streaming platform, released the first details of its paid subscription plan on Thursday. Users can now subscribe to 53 different channels offering premium content for a fee ranging from 99 cents to $7 per month.
The first round of premium YouTube channels include content for kids, fitness, sports, movies and documentaries. There are also niche channels for interests such as video games and woodworking.
Some examples of YouTube's new premium offerings include Sesame Street, which will offer full episodes on its paid channel, and UFC, which will show classic mixed martial arts fights. SmartTV.com will offer a network of seven channels from the Entertainment Studios Networks for $10 per month.
“This is just the beginning,” YouTube said in a blog post. “We’ll be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners.”
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Since YouTube launched its partner program in 2007, there are more than one million channels generating revenue from content on YouTube. Many creators expressed dissatisfaction with YouTube’s advertising model and wanted a new way to earn a profit.
It remains to be seen how many people will want to pay for these channels; after all, being free was one of the primary reasons for YouTube’s popularity. As a means of attracting people to its new premium platform, all YouTube premium channels will feature a 14-day free trial.
Paid channels are the latest addition to YouTube’s growing repertoire of revenue streams. Users can also buy movies, TV show episodes, and watch pay-per-view events. If this gamble with paid subscriptions works, it could be a big advantage for Google TV in the upcoming battle with Apple TV. While premium YouTube content will be accessed across nearly all connected devices, Apple store content will be restricted to Apple devices.