In a groundbreaking move that many would have hoped would never happen, Google-owned online video giants YouTube have revealed their first batch of premium subscription-based channels for viewers, the first time in which a selection of entire new channels will be locked behind a paywall on the site.
The official launch sees 53 channels take up the offer of becoming paid-for content under the ‘YouTube partner programme’, each seemingly offering a niche selection of content behind their monthly prices, with ‘children’s entertainment’, ‘sports entertainment’ and ‘budget movies’ amongst the options provided.
While more are set to join the inaugural 53 over the coming weeks, the first wave of subscription channels are offering viewers a glimpse of what they can expect from similar launches in the future, as brands such as UFC, TNA Wrestling Plus, Acorn TV, and National Geographic Kids take centre-stage, amongst many other well-known names that will offer videos like all others on the site (available through all supporting platforms) but with the exception of earning a little money directly off its viewers.
The content is not entirely ’blocked’ to non-payers, though, as a ’14-day free trial’ is currently operating as a means to get users used to such a system on the website, but to gain access to the videos full-time, subscription prices will be required, beginning from $0.99 per month, but being made available on an annual basis as well, at rates as high as over $50 per year.
An official YouTube blog post discussing the matter read: “Today, there are more than 1 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 monetising and distributing content. Starting today, we’re launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month.”
While the move to paid content might seem like a bad one on YouTube’s part considering the number of people that log on each day expecting everything to be free, it should be noted that the 53 new channels for premium content are in the extreme minority (in a similar manner to the site’s movie rental service), so while there may be some difficulties in trying to access the best-quality TV shows or related videos from the channels, take solace in the fact that most of the best parts of YouTube are completely original and without a pricetag…