YouTube has today unveiled 30 paid subscription channels which span kids, film, sport, fitness and music content programming.
The move sees these 30 initial launch partners charge viewers a monthly fee to watch content, signaling a new revenue stream for YouTube and its content producers who no longer have to rely on revenue from video advertising.
The move has been hotly anticipated, with YouTube owner Google hinting at the imminent launch of the program on Tuesday.
According to Malik Ducard, head of content partnerships at YouTube, who spoke with international press earlier, channel creators will get to keep more than 50% of the revenue while YouTube keeps the rest, similar to existing arrangements with ad revenues.
Partner channels so far include YouTube versions of cable channels like Cars.TV, HDNet (relaunched on cable as AXS TV), Big Star Movies, Screampiz and Gravitas movies. Also featured is a new National Geographic Kids channel, an extreme fighting channel called UFC Select, and fitness channel iAmplify Fitness.
According to YouTube these content producers are the first in a pilot program which will see 50 paid subscription channels launch. The channels are charging a minimum of 99c a month.
Google today told B&T: “We’ll be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners.
“Just as the partner program empowered creators to take their channels to the next level, we look forward to seeing how this great community of creators moves ahead with a new way to reach the fan communities that made their channels a hit.”
The decision propels YouTube into the sphere owned until now by subscription online content providers like Hulu and Netflix, neither service of which is available in Australia yet.
But YouTube’s prices are significantly lower than these service providers, which charge users around $8 per month for access to movies and TV shows.