It looks like paywalls are coming to YouTube, as the Google-owned company will be looking to attract advertisers with channels that can boast a monthly fee. Several channel producers have been approached to send in applications to create channels that will be behind a paywall. According to Ad Age, the first paid channels will cost between $1 and $5 a month, charging for things like content libraries, live events, and pay-per-view. In a world where people expect online video to be free and the content to get better and better, this is a move that will likely be controversial.
The YouTube Paywall: How Will It Work?
Nobody except YouTube and these content producers really know which ones were approached, but you can pretty much guess the usual on that. Machinima, which is also mentioned by the Ad Age article, is a clear choice because they have an enviable audience. And it's unclear whether existing channels will suddenly be behind a paywall or if this is something where they'll create new channels for the paid subscriptions, or both (probably both, let's face it).
At the very least, I guess, you can go a la carte with these channels, and there will still be loads of free stuff available, but the idea of paid content is one of those prickly things. We like the ease of being able to just click on a video and watch it. Those videos cost money to make, and content producers need a way to sustain themselves and make better content and keep an audience. Advertisements, endorsements, and merchandise have always been the key to content producers' success. But advertisements, unless they're really, really good, are a general nuisance for many.
It is believed that the new channels will come in the 2nd Quarter, and will be announced at the Digital Content New Fronts in April.