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YouTube said to be planning subscription option

  • Article by: BRIAN STELTER
  • New York Times
  • May 6, 2013 - 9:00 PM

 

YouTube this week will announce a plan to let some video makers charge a monthly subscription, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The overwhelming majority of videos on YouTube, a unit of Google, will remain free to all, but the plan will let the company’s partners try out a second source of revenue, analogous to the flexible pay walls that some newspapers and magazines have adopted.

There will be subscription channels for children’s programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas, according to the people with knowledge of the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been asked by YouTube not to comment publicly yet. Some channels will cost as little as $1.99 a month.

These won’t be channels in the television sense of the term; rather, they will consist of libraries of videos on demand, much like the thousands of free channels already on YouTube. Some of the video makers who have worked with YouTube on the subscription option want to convert existing fans to paying customers; others hope to distinguish themselves by selling archives of old TV episodes.

Some of the partners planned to start promoting their channels Thursday, though the announcements could come sooner.

A YouTube spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the subscription plan. In a statement the company said, “We have nothing to announce at this time, but we’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”

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