As was rumored for some time, YouTube has started charging for content, with paid channels making their debut. The pilot scheme gives qualifying partners the opportunity to erect paywalls, but will viewers pay in the numbers needed to make this worthwhile?
Paid YouTube Channels
YouTube has rolled out its first paid content, with a pilot scheme which sees 50 channels offering subscriptions costing $0.99 per month. All offer a 14-day free trial, and there are discounts for longer subscriptions.
The pilot scheme includes channels as diverse as Jim Henson Family TV, UFC Select, and GayDirect. In the coming months YouTube is promising a wider rollout which will see partners able to set up their own paid offerings.
Will It Succeed?
It was inevitable that YouTube would start charging for select content, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense. I’d go as far to say it will only prove a viable option for purveyors of premium content who have yet to make the leap to online video.
Amateur content creators who have become famous and built a fanbase off the back of YouTube would surely be taking a huge gamble in moving their videos behind a paywall. Especially as they’re likely to be making a good annual salary from their share of the advertising revenue already.
And then there are the viewers, which total over 1 billion each and every month. What percentage of those are going to be willing to pay $0.99 per month for each individual channel they watch just to rid themselves of ads? If the rest of the Internet is anything to go by then it’ll only be a tiny number.
I’m not convinced this will be a winner. Paywalls run contrary to the spirit of the Internet, and people really don’t like having to pay for content of any kind.
Advertising works, and works well, so the only people likely to go for this are those who are too impatient to wait 10 seconds for an ad to finish at the start of a video.