YouTube To Launch Paywall For Select Premium Channels This Spring

By Megan O'Neill 

Would you be willing to pay to watch content on YouTube?  According to Jason Del Rey of AdAge, the video site is preparing to introduce paid subscriptions on select channels as early as the second quarter of 2013.

Del Rey writes that, “YouTube is prepping to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels on its video platform in its latest attempt to lure content producers, eyeballs, and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV, according to multiple people familiar with the plans.”

Two of these “people familiar with the plans” say that YouTube channels behind a paywall will cost viewers anywhere from $1 to $5 a month to access.  Apparently YouTube has been reaching out to a number of channel producers to ask them to submit applications for the opportunity to be one of the first paid channels on YouTube.

YouTube has been considering launching a premium subscription service for quite some time now.  Back in May of 2012, a YouTube spokesperson said, “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models.  The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform and viewers find more content to watch.  There are a lot of our content creators that believe they would benefit from subscriptions.”

YouTube has previously launched a pay-to-view model called YouTube Rentals, allowing select partners “greater flexibility to monetize a variety of videos” by charging viewers to rent content.  However, this new move will be the first time that full YouTube channels will be placed behind a paywall.

The fact that it sounds like YouTube is reaching out to already existing channels and content creators, who are currently offering their content for free, may prove to be an issue if viewers are suddenly asked to pay.  It will be interesting to see how the video site will deal with this issue.

Are there any YouTube channels that you’d be willing to dish out a couple bucks a month to watch, or do you think YouTube should remain a totally free, ad-supported service?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.