Rumor Has It that YouTube is Flirting With Paid Subscriptions

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With the success of Netflix and music streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, it seems inevitable that paid subscriptions are the future for monetizing online content.  But rumor has it that Google is playing with the idea of incorporating a paid subscription service for YouTube with select premium channels.  While I do not know yet what constitutes a “premium channel”, I would place my bets that it is for content similar to Netlix that is either originally produced by professionals or existing content (think of all those TV shows that aren’t on Netflix that may finally find a home!)  So in other words, don’t panic:  your probably won’t have to start paying to watch all your favorite cat videos.

While details are still forthcoming, I think this could be an exciting change for YouTube as long as they are careful with what they start charging for.  After all, the one guaranteed way of angering your users is to charge them for something that they once had for free.  The paid advertising was a good compromise with users still getting free content but with a preceding 30 second ad.  I’ve personally always been really annoyed with this so if YouTube offered an experience without these ads, I would be inclined to subscribe.  In addition, one has to wonder how much the paid advertising and potential subscription would actually cut into views.  Surely there are viewers who were already turned off by having to wait for an ad before free content.

Furthermore, how will this affect businesses?  Like I mentioned, I think the subscription is going to be for content similar to Netflix the way that Amazon has incorporated a streaming video service to boost their successful Prime membership.  So is it possible that YouTube may just cut the middle man out (paid advertising) and instead have a non-ads subscription similar to Spotify and Rdio?  Only time will tell but if the rumor holds true, we may be able to see what the subscription service looks like as early as next week.

Sound off below with your comments!  What do you want the subscription service to look like?  And what would you pay (if at all) for a subscription? As always, if you have any social media needs, contact us at 212.932.7438.