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.

ALSO ►  Facebook Content ID for Video is Coming, Addresses Freebooting

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.

  • JeffBach

    FINALLY. While viewers may want free, the content creators trying to make a go of things in the wild west of web video and its variants are NOT all independently wealthy and doing it for free. To me, as a content creator, this much needed announcement from YT/Google is not so much about going against the viewers wishes as it is finally facing the reality that narrowcast web video simply cannot survive under an ad-based broadcasting model. Virtually everything is different. Creators need to be able to pay their bills in order to continue creating the content. This paywall model gives the creators a chance to make money and survive to create another day. If viewers want to see the content that they like and can now search for (and hopefully find) there is no "someone else" to pay for it like there is in the broadcast world.

    And yes a VERY select few can and are making it on YT under the current ad-based model. The current model does work. But it only works for about 0.0003% of the creators out there. I see this announcement as eventually giving everyone an opportunity, NOT just the VERY SELECT FEW that are currently able to do things the broad way in the narrow world.

    • Jiffycornbread

      You would have a much smaller amount of people watching the videos. Thus, it makes no difference because the probability of your video being seen by anyone reduces dramatically

  • Brian Cavanaugh

    Why not create an a-la-carte paid subscription option w/o commercials as well as a free option with commercials? Seems like a win-win...

  • Cari Ellison

    As with a lot of paid media these days, I see it initially failing miserably until someone does it right and makes it worth paying cash for.

  • Carl Hartman

    You would think these people would study how and why people interact with media. People, don't want another TV channel. Geez, I won a national contact with the government 10 years ago when I was an executive at PBS and proved how people would watch and interact with TV in the future. You would think people would read the research. If you understood film theory and human-computer interaction you'd know why this does not work. That's why we are currently engineering new methods we have tested and do work.

    • CJ Bruce

      Such as?