YouTube Launches Subscription Offering

Pilot partners include Sesame Street and UFC

YouTube is officially launching a paid subscription service for its content partners.

As has been widely reported, the Web video giant is looking to providing its growing collection of content partners with another revenue option. Starting today, a handful of channels will test a subscription offering with prices starting at 99 cents-per-month.  

Among the test partners are several kids channels including Sesame Street, DHX Junior and Jim Henson Family TV; niche sports players like UFC and SportsSkool Plus; and hard-to-find fare like Digital Theatre (offering the best of British theater). Here's the full list. All are offering a two-week trial for subscribers.

According to YouTube, there are a million channels generating revenue on YouTube, “and one of the most frequent requests we hear from these creators behind them is for more flexibility in monetizing and distributing content,” the company wrote in a blog post.

It remains to be seen how many big YouTube channels will opt to charge for content that has up until now been free and plentiful. According to one Hollywood executive Adweek spoke to, programmers know they’ll take an audience haircut if they implement subscriptions. Any increase in revenue will have to be weighed against long term growth.

Other pilot partners include Alchemy TV (Rap Battle Network), Baby First TV, Big Star Movies, Carsdottv, the documentary-themed ILoveDocs, the indy film channel Gravitas VOD, the boobs and Vegas-centric Guys Night In, the horror net TheAsylumNet, and channels from the PGA and TNA. 

YouTube plans on rolling out the offering more widely in the coming weeks. Interested creators should click here.

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