Now the possibility of paying for YouTube may actually become reality. According to Daily Variety, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s vice president and global head for content, floated the idea of allowing partners to charge for watching videos at a summit in Abu Dhabi.
Kyncl told those in attendance:
“You will see us offer an option to all the channels that are our partners to start charging subscriptions for their content.”
While some high-profile partners could charge their subscribers in the future, Kyncl insists that the majority of YouTube content will be ad-supported. The idea that YouTube content creators could charge for subscriptions could benefit and hurt them in many ways.
If YouTube partners value their creative independence over “selling out,” then charging a nominal monthly fee would still give them revenue if they have a loyal, dedicated fanbase. This could benefit viewers who have more money to spend because they can watch unlimited content from their favorite channels without seeing an ad. In addition, having some subscription-supported content on YouTube would bring a certain level of curation and set them apart from the rest of the user-generated content.
Since YouTube will likely remain a largely advertiser-supported service, the thought of subscription fees for videos could turn away potential new viewers who are not willing to pay a price to watch a 5-minute video every week. Content creators may need to use their social media marketing skills to get more viewers to pay for subscriptions.
Giving partners the option to charge for subscriptions would set the bar high for YouTube content as the site experiments with different ways of monetizing. This could mean that YouTube will slowly start to look like television, where big name production companies on the original channel roster translates to added revenue. Independent producers will also benefit, but unlike the big names, they will probably not get as much out of subscriptions.
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