As one of the best-known websites in the world, and the single-most popular hub of videos that can enable a clip to earn 1.25b hits (at the time of writing), for YouTube to give up any part of their current business model would appear crazy. The headlines that the Google-owned site has plans to create a subscription-based service, will have many viewers fearing having to look for a new place to get their free video fix.
This business plan is said to be ready for action as of this spring, with new professional content channels emerging and available for between $1-5 per month. Of this money raised, the site is looking to distribute revenue between themselves and the content creators on a 45-55 split, and they have already contacted potential producers to try and start their proposal with some enticing content.
It will be a further move to create ‘YouTube partners’ that are established big names and can draw in viewers, and while current channels with such a status share advertising revenue with the site (including popular amateur videos), the latest batch could be in for a prize a little more lucrative. That is providing viewers will actually pay to watch something on the site.
A YouTube spokesman said of the plans: “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we’re looking at that.”
The plans are believed to be a venture that can help YouTube compete with more subscription-driven sites such as Netflix and Hulu (despite YouTube already offering a limited selection of paid-for online movie rentals), with plenty of premium producers, including ‘video game networks’, said to have shown interest in a paid-for new channels model, while it would not be a surprise to see some existing channels switch to the new proposal (if YouTube are interested in them).
So for some original YouTube content providers, there could soon be a decision to be made… should they continue as usual with support from digital advertising (an industry which in the USA was valued at $2.9b in 2012 (but still much smaller than the $65bn TV advertising net spend in the country), or aim for a little extra cash (presumably also with advertising revenue) but with severe risk of alienating and losing viewers? One video that will not want to cross over while it is on such a roll is ‘Gangnam Style’, which can be seen below (or is it beginning to outstay its welcome?).