Salar Kamangar, Google’s senior vice president for YouTube and video, said at the Reuters Media and Technology Summit that it is a possibility that smaller cable channels will get a presence for a fee, and that some premium content will be behind a paywall.
“It is something that’s really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren’t on YouTube today, so we’re taking very seriously and we’re thinking about it very carefully,” he told the panel.
So far, YouTube provides nearly all of the content for free to the more than 800 million people who check the site every month. Some of the small cable channels that have a strong presence on YouTube but with little cable carriage include Al-Jazeera English and RT America.
YouTube’s announcement to offer subscription services for some of its prized content and smaller cable channels is a sign that online video is becoming serious competition to traditional media.
In fact, the established practice of cable companies bundling channels and charging subscriptions for certain online content may be challenged by the Justice Department. The government is also looking into certain cable companies’ practices of limiting the amount of data used by customers each month.
This is the second major announcement to come from YouTube execs this week. A major revamp of the homepage has been announced by the company and bears similarities to parent company Google’s social media network Google+.
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