As more and more people start doing everything on a computer or their smart devices, content providers and creators are finding new ways to monetize their services. A few days back we reported that YouTube was about to introduce paid subscriptions for channels.
In a blog post, YouTube announced the launch of this feature which offer owners of popular channels an additional revenue stream to supplement income from advertising. The blog post said this is part of an effort begun in 2007 “that enables content creators to earn revenue for their creativity.”
This move will be a direct challenge to services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu in the US, which have been luring viewers away from cable and broadcast TV.
At the launch of the service there are over 50 channels which will be part of the program. The à la carte model chosen by Google allows viewers to pick and choose which channels they subscribe to. Subscriptions start at $1.99 and go up to $7.99 per channel per month. Each channel will have a 14-day free trial, and many will offer discounted yearly rates.
The service is presently available only in 10 countries, and more channels are expected to be added soon. India is not listed in the initial list of countries, but with Play Movies and YouTube Rentals we expect the service to launch soon in India with various Indian partners aboard.
“This is just the beginning. We’ll be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners. And as new channels appear, we’ll be making sure you can discover them, just as we’ve been helping you find and subscribe to all the channels you love across YouTube,” the blog post said.
Subscribers will be able to access the channels from a computer, phone, tablet or smart TV or even a gaming device.
Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. In March, YouTube said on its blog that it has more than 1 billion unique users a month, with viewing on smartphones helping drive growth.
The new paid channels include Acorn TV which provides British content, National Geographic Kids for children, sport channe;s PrimeZone Sports and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Comedy.tv and iAmplify Fitness. Sesame Street is expected to join the list soon.
Google will keep about 45 percent of subscription revenue, similar to the share of advertising revenue it keeps from ads that play on YouTube. The rest will go to the channel owners.