Report: YouTube preparing paid channel subscriptions


— 1:24 PM on May 6, 2013

For years, cable TV subscribers have asked for a-la-carte service that would allow channels to be purchased individually. Cable providers have resisted, but it looks like Google may be more receptive to that kind of business model. The Financial Times says YouTube could introduce paid channel subscriptions as early as next week. "People familiar with the plan" told the Financial Times that up to 50 channels could participate in the paid subscription deal, with per-channel prices as low as two bucks per month.

YouTube channels are currently limited to generating revenue from advertising and rentals. According to the Financial Times' source, allowing those channels to collect subscription revenue will enable them to produce more diverse content, including "TV shows and films." YouTube advertising revenue apparently doesn't compare to the massive budgets that fuel the production of those kinds of content.

While YouTube hasn't confirmed the specifics of the Financial Times story, the video provider told the site it's "looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content." Sounds like paid subscriptions of some kind are a shoo-in. And they should be. YouTube's current options for channel owners require that content exists before revenue can be generated from it. Subscriptions should allow channels to fund the development of new content more easily.

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