After months of rumors, YouTube’s pilot program that offers paid subscription channels was finally launched last Thursday, May 9.
YouTube has been building its YouTube partner program since 2007 to enable its content creators to earn revenues for their creativity. With more than 1 million channels generating revenue on YouTube, no wonder that YT recognizes the importance that these very same content creators can offer. One of the most frequent requests that YT gets from the creators is to find means and ways for the creators to have more flexibility with regards to monetizing and distributing content. Hence, the launching of this pilot program for paid subscription channels.
This new service has certainly managed to attract a wide array of impressive partners such as the producers of Sesame Street, the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, and National Geographic Kids, all of which offer full episodes on the video site. The subscription fees start at $0.99 per month. Every channel will be given a 14-day free trial and many offer discounted yearly rates. UFC fans, for example, can see classic fights such as the full version of their first event from UFC’s new Select channel. In the next few weeks, YT will be rolling out paid channels more broadly as a self-service feature for qualifying partners.
The new program not only caters the interests of YT’s partners but the subscribers as well. YT has assured the subscribers that once you subscribe from a computer, you will be able to watch the paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV. But there is more to this program than just that. Subscribers need not worry about being left behind with all the new hype since YT will also make sure that subscribers know what’s new and hot. Said channels will also be ad-free.
Under the Microscope: A Closer Look at the Benefits of YT’s Paid Subscriptions
The launching of this program proves that Google is trying to answer the consumer’s demands to give them what they want to see, when they want to see it. And with Americans increasingly watching video through their laptops, smartphones and tablets as confirmed by a recent study conducted by the Nielsen research firm on the approximately 5 million “zero TV” households without cable television, the paid subscriptions definitely has potential.
Through this program, YT hopes to create a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube users to enjoy and to provide their partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models that YT already offers.
Concerns Regarding the New YT Program
Despite the innovation of the program, there are also certain concerns that has to be addressed. YT has traditionally been a free medium, both in its literal and metaphorical sense. With YT, users can view videos of all sorts for free. It also provides for a medium of expression giving amateurs the opportunity to showcase their skills. As such, it is relatively safe to assume that YT will continue giving users free access. This poses certain issues for YT partners. After all, how will there videos look next to amateur videos of cats and babies? There is also the question of whether users will actually pay for the content that they have previously been getting for free and whether the paid subscription channels will stay ad-free. As for the content producers, will they be satisfied with the revenue split generated from subscriptions versus the ads?
The internet and TV worlds are colliding. And this new program launched by YouTube will inevitably make it harder for smaller online subscription-based platforms simply because Google has the resources to make it in the field. But then again, there was always that implied expectation that Google will always be brewing new means and ways to expand itself.