According to Gizmodo, which is reporting on a story published by The Financial Times (ironically, subscription required), YouTube's paid subscription service is coming this week.  The rumor that is floating around says that 50 channels are going to be paid channels, and the cost is from $2 a month.  YouTube isn't saying anything about it yet, according to Mashable, but we've been hearing about paid channels for quite awhile now, even seeing code popping up on Android devices that signal its imminent introduction, so whether it's this week or this month seems likely.

YouTube Paid Subscriptions: Will It Work?

I'm not sure how many people will be lining up to pay for certain channels...but there is a way I feel like it could work.  Like, let's say you're VSauce, and you offer a free channel and always will.  VSauce has over 3 million subscribers and over 2 million combined between VSauce2 and VSauce3.  If VSauce were to come up with a paid channel (and I am in no way saying that they are or ever will), they have a huge fan base to draw from to make paid channels work.  This is why we heard a lot of rumors about Machinima being approached to create a channel for a paid subscription, since they already have a tremendous following.

YouTube Paid Subscription Channels Coming This Week? [Rumor] vsauce home 606x128

But I know that much of the thought is, "This isn't going to work.  YouTube is free and people just want to see free stuff."  I'd say overwhelmingly, that's probably the case.  But a paid channel likely doesn't need millions of subscribers to work.  If you even get a thousand at $2 a month per subscriber, that's $24,000 (before whatever various fees/taxes).  While that's not enough to do it for a living, I imagine a VSauce-type of channel offering a paid alternative could get well more than a thousand people to sign up, especially if they tease some content on their free channel.  Plus, $2 appears to be only the minimum amount charged.

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Channels looking to succeed from the "ground up" will have to find other ways to promote their channel, which is going to be a new challenge for YouTube.  But my guess is if 50 channels are launching, they all have built-in audiences and are hoping to be able to leverage their sizable fan base to get people to buy into the new channels.

  • Jim Sutter

    There are lots of paid subscription services for video on the web. To have them findable/searchable at Youtube could add to the subscriber list, and offers a much less expensive way to stream content. Like the article points out, if someone's has a huge viewership/subscription following, there's going to be ways to montetize more in-depth content/educational, webinars...

  • Ronnie Bincer

    I've been waiting for a paid offering like this for many Many years!

    Now I'm wondering if I trust YouTube enough for this... There seems to be enough issues with YouTube and the lack of support to deal with false reports, etc. that can hinder your account, I wonder if I will embrace it when it finally comes to the masses.

    If you go for a membership-type account on YouTube (which I've only dreamed about until now), then I wonder if $2/month is enough. If your stuff is valuable enough to charge more, would you risk it with YouTube (risk getting shut down because someone doesn't like your hairstyle that day and reports that you are infringing on copyright in one way or another)? YouTube tends to shoot first and ask questions later (if at all).

    I'm normally very pro-YouTube and Google, but the lack of reality and the stories I hear when the behemoth YouTube just can't support the massive size and the automation the've put into place for dealing with things that can and will shut down your account make me wonder if it is worth the risk.

    What say you ReelSEO readers (and publishers)?

    • Chris Atkinson

      It does seem like this will be like anything else when it comes to YouTube, right? They didn't make any spectacular effort to make their Original Channels any more special than any other channel, so a paid channel is probably going to be treated the same...and you're right, what happens when someone "reports" you, or someone thinks you're infringing on copyright in some way? I think it'll be the same, unfortunately.

  • Robin

    Little late, but great one for elearning mentors and people who want to sell tutorials and videos works. :)