Would You Pay For A YouTube Subscription Service?

This morning the NY Post reported that YouTube is considering launching a premium, subscription service, but will viewers pay?

Claire Atkinson writes, “The video giant is holding conversations with program providers about adding more top-shelf content to its channels by putting it behind a pay-wall as some newspapers have done, sources said.”  Atkinson reports that this doesn’t mean that viewers will have to start paying for content that is already free.  Rather, YouTube will begin adding new premium content that is not already available on the site.

The subscription-only content would likely be high-end sports, music and entertainment video owned by networks and distributers that, until now, have been unwilling to provide content to YouTube because of their advertising-only biz model.  YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar says, “We’re a media platform and we want to [have] a business model that media partners demand.”

YouTube already offers content behind a pay-wall through their rental service, which is primarily movies, but it sounds like this new service would be more like a Hulu Plus or Netflix—where viewers pay a monthly subscription fee and gain access to streaming content.

A YouTube spokesperson says, “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models.  The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform and viewers find more content to watch.  There are a lot of our content creators that believe they would benefit from subscriptions.”

Ross Fadner of MediaPost points out that YouTube already “has one sports subscription venture: a partnership with WillowTV that gives customers access to cricket events around the world for $45.99 for the season.  Parent Google also has a separate pay-as-you-go platform called Google Play that gives customers access to certain movies, music and books.”

It will be interesting to see how a future subscription service would be set up and what sort of content it would include.  Would there be one general YouTube subscription service or would any content creator be able to provide their content behind a subscription wall?  And would viewers actually pay for such a service, with so many other subscription streaming services out there?  What do you think?  Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.

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