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YouTube paid subscriptions now live, starting at 99 cents per month

Posted: , by Michael H.

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YouTube paid subscriptions now live, starting at 99 cents per month
We knew it was in the works and today marks launch day for YouTube's paid subscription pilot program. Users were worried that their favorite YouTube channels would be switching to the paid model, but from the looks of the pilot channels, there isn't too much worry about that. Instead, the paid subscription channels are dominated by names you wouldn't expect to see (legally) on YouTube, like Sesame Street.

The current lineup of channels in the pilot program fall mostly into a few major categories. Of the 53 pilot channels, most seem to be either children's programming (Jim Henson's Family TV, National Geographic Kids, DHX Junior/Kids, Franklin), or sports/fitness (TNA Impact Wrestling, UFC Select, PGA Academy, Primezone Sports with Deion Sanders, iAmplify, Cars TV). The rest are a smattering of genre channels covering documentaries, comedy, Spanish language, LGBT, and even a woodworking channel. 

Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and afterwards the channels either offer a subscription fee starting at 99 cents per month, or purchases. For example, you can subscribe to Jim Henson's Family TV for $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year (which includes Fraggle Rock, but not Sesame Street); or, you can buy individual episodes of Sesame Street ($1.99 for SD, $2.99 for HD) or purchase full seasons ($17.99/$27.99). 

YouTube plans to continue rolling out more subscription channels with partners that will be adding more "TV-like" series.

Many people get angry at the idea of paid channels on YouTube, but we've defended the idea before, and we'll continue to do it. As you can see with the pilot program, paid subscriptions are bringing in big name content creators like Jim Henson productions, a channel presented by Deion Sanders, and HDNet. Big names like this are only a good thing for YouTube. They won't be crowding out the ad-supported channels, just adding a new tier of premium content

As we've said many many times before, it's just like online news. Only the top 5% of the most popular content on YouTube will be able to switch to paid subscriptions and end up making more money than with ad revenue. Just like only news sources at the very top, like NYT and WSJ, can put up a paywall and make it work. Everyone else has to stick with ad support.

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posted on 09 May 2013, 15:12 9

1. CivicSi89 (Posts: 348; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)


Oh brother....

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:18 7

2. Atlas (Posts: 154; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


F*ck you YouTube... Well at least for now it isn't channels I actually watch except maybe 4oD.

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:28 4

11. Atlas (Posts: 154; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


Well what, I don't want YouTube to turn into something like iTunes where you have to pay for EVERYTHING. Google, you're free and that's what I like about you, just let the ads give you your money instead of the people.

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:52 6

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Why would you even think that's a possibility? Only the top 5% of the most popular content on YouTube would be able to switch to paid subscriptions and end up making more money than with ad revenue.

As I've said many many times before, it's just like online news. Only sources at the very top, like NYT and WSJ, can put up a paywall and make it work. Everyone else has to stick with ad support.

posted on 10 May 2013, 15:24

28. Atlas (Posts: 154; Member since: 15 Apr 2012)


Fair point, as long as they don't mess with the community.

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:22 10

3. Malki (Posts: 39; Member since: 20 Feb 2013)


Dear youtube...go and f**k yourself.....

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:52 8

15. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Please read comment #13

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:29 9

4. stychill (unregistered)


I Honestly don't have a problem with it, the other people who commented are more than likely to be the type who pirate relentlessly regardless of how affordable the item they seek is. If you enjoy the content and want to watch, Pay the fee.

posted on 10 May 2013, 10:35

23. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 803; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


It's not the pirating aspect. Its the combination of ads and fees on a sight that gained it's popularity on its adfree and most importantly free service.

Crap like that is why I PAY for Netflix over Hulu+. Not everyone is a pirate. People just don't like changes for the worse instead of better.

posted on 10 May 2013, 11:38 1

24. stychill (unregistered)


Now It's Owned by google, a business that's out to make a profit like every other business out there. It's not a nonprofit organisation, never was. The way i see it we go to work and give up our time mainly so we can be paid at the end of the week or whenever. Companies do the same when they have a product or a service, and like us they expect to make a profit off their labor. $0.99 to $2.99 isn't too steep a price to ask, provided what you get for that fee is of adequate quality.

posted on 10 May 2013, 12:16

25. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 803; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


It always was a business with ad revenue and as much as the quick commercials they added annoy me, I understand that this is for added revenue and to pass it on the user uploading the video for his content. I can deal with it and understand where they are coming from.

The paid content seems stupid and redundant to me and many others that posted here from hugely obvious reason that Google already provides this service in their play store. This will only people off when they go to click on a video and asks them for a dollar.

I'm not gripping about the price. I'm gripping about the charge service in general when it comes to youtube. It takes away from what Youtube has always been and represents. This is equivalent to Parks departments adding billboards all over the park then eventually charging a dollar to get in as a subscription rate. It's not a lot of money but not where it belongs.

posted on 10 May 2013, 12:36

26. stychill (unregistered)


I guess i can understand where you're coming from, only time will tell if this will sink or swim.

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:48 3

6. james1 (Posts: 36; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


They trying to suck every penny out us so they introduced paid subscriptions, like then ads weren't already bad enough!

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:57 4

16. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


They can only suck the pennies out if you choose to pay.

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:52 3

7. zivan (Posts: 8; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Paid channel??? WTF.. NEXT PAID MAPPING..ANDROID ROYALITIES....YOU MADE ENOUGH MONEY WITH ADDS...kind of disappointed...

posted on 09 May 2013, 15:57

8. palmguy (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


Competition for iTunes

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:05 1

9. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Price is cheap. But, I go to Youtube for community made content. I already have subs to Netflix and Hulu for my normal shows. Plus, I use Amazon on my PS3 for Movies. Have no need for another service such as this. Thinking about it...Google already have T.V. shows and movies covered in the Google Play store. Wouldn't setting up a paid subscription for Youtube Channels kinda pointless and redundant.

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:14 4

10. grahaman27 (Posts: 234; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


like the article said, the paid channels include content that was not on youtube before-- entire episodes, I encourage this.

so everyone chill out about your precious youtube.

posted on 09 May 2013, 16:52 2

14. downphoenix (Posts: 2230; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


I am not a big fan of this, but if Youtube can cut a deal with some major cable networks that I would like to have the channels for a la carte and can save myself money over buying a cable tv package, I wouldnt mind that a bit.

posted on 09 May 2013, 17:34 2

18. protozeloz (Posts: 5321; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I was thinking that same thing, with the money you spend on TV to get 12345567800 crappy channels and 5 you like you would just get the 5 and deal with it, plus no need to use a recorder if you "miss" a new episode, it would be ready to watch, I think free YouTube channels would still be free and only TV channels will tag along, adding even more value to Google TV

posted on 09 May 2013, 17:00 2

17. pongkie (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


that's a relief my cat videos are still free but I think the new service is expensive

posted on 09 May 2013, 19:43 3

19. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


i don't mind that if they make TV like series on YouTube and TV shows on youtube for premium and leave the current youtuber's channel free that's all Good and it's only 99c a month 12 dollars a year

posted on 09 May 2013, 20:02 1

20. Timmehor (Posts: 599; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)


Not cool, not cool at all.

posted on 09 May 2013, 20:54

21. Shrihari (Posts: 79; Member since: 29 Jan 2013)


i dont care to watch it in youtube from now....pirate bay here i come....

posted on 10 May 2013, 00:22 1

22. antoninslejska (Posts: 5; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)


I had a look on the channels and I have seen 53 unavailable channels. It looks like I live in a bad part of world.

posted on 10 May 2013, 14:08 1

27. ZeroCide (Posts: 677; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


Google will raise the price again in 3 to 6 months

posted on 11 May 2013, 05:44 1

29. locoboy808 (Posts: 53; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Now thats funny bye bye YouTube im deteing my account with you greedy guys

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