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YouTube Unveils Paid Channel Subscription Service

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YouTube took to their blog today to announce a subscription-based model of monetization on some of their biggest channels. Everyone take a deep breath, the world is not ending. Now that we have all calmed down, let’s look at this rationally. YouTube’s post mentions that they were approached by many of their already money-making partners and asked for different ways to monetize and distribute content. Starting today with a select few channels, paid monthly subscriptions have come to YouTube.

Each channel comes with a two week free trial of the channel so you can decide if you want to lay down real money for the content. Prices range from $0.99 per month up to $5.99 per month. These channels will obviously be pushing quality content fairly often. For example, the Sesame Street channel will start posting full episodes to their collection and the UFC channel will host classic fights along with their newer ones.

ufc paid yotube

Once you pay for a channel, it is linked to your Google account so you can watch it from your computer, TV, tablet or phone. YouTube says they will be rolling out more paid channels over the next few weeks so this is just the beginning from what it looks like.


Via: YouTube

  • tsweet

    As if we as ppl already dnt pay for enough subscriptions ….Just another unnecessary monthly BILL!!!!

  • heijiu891


  • Meta Oracle

    I like the idea, I would be happy to watch and pay for channels depending on the right content.

  • Dylan

    I’d subscribe to certain channels if networks stated “broadcasting” on YouTube, they were reasonably priced, and had all their shows basically on demand. I live off hulu, netflix, and broadcast tv these days. I’d love me some Discovery/History Channel/TLC/A&E/NatGeo/DIY Netwok without the hassle of getting a cable subscription.

    Browsing libraries on my phone and firing it up on my PS3 would be a great alternative to having a laptop connected to the TV.

  • lye


  • mini-me

    I’m reaching here but how about the NFL or MLB on youtube.

  • Justin Kos

    It needs NFL and I’ll never buy cable

  • Jason Kahn

    I really like this idea and really want this to work. I kind of don’t think this will bite into the cable monopoly though, but fingers crossed.

  • Christopher Riner

    You know, if they had a thing where you could get a premium service where any content was upload able, and you couldn’t download it but go and view it anytime, like movies and whatever else, and they allowed for better quality and stuff, I would be down

  • Instant fail hahaha. Paying for 5-10 minute clips. yeah…

    • PhoenixPath

      Is learning to read really that hard?

      …or could you not be bothered with reading the second paragraph?

      (I fear I give you too much credit here, if you read anything at all, I am fairly certain it was only the headline…)

      • Wow dude really? You truthfully can sit there type that out that you believe that there are going to be 30 min – 1 hr shows all the time?

        • JasonIvers

          The channels will produce the content that gets people to pay the subscription fee. If 5 minute content works, they may produce that. If 30-60 minute content generates more money, they’re likely to go that route, instead. I am completely confident that at least some of the channels that charge will be 30 min+ content only, and some of them may only be feature-length films… after all, $5.99 isn’t THAT far off what it costs for HBO on cable.

        • PhoenixPath

          Love how you just changed your tune from, “Paying for 5-10 minute clips” to, “30 min – 1 hr shows all the time”

          Nicely done!

          From the article:

          “These channels will obviously be pushing quality content fairly often. For example, the Sesame Street channel will start posting full episodes to their collection and the UFC channel will host classic fights along with their newer ones.”

          Again, is reading really that hard?

          • and you claim I can read? You are a retard.

          • PhoenixPath

            “and you claim I can read? You are a retard.”


            Talk about irony…smh

  • vs8

    Only if the NFL had a YouTube channel that live broadcasts games for a price….

    • Joseph Barrientos


    • Warwick

      Right at that 5.99 price? what a steal lol

      • JasonIvers

        $5.99/month to access all of the games wouldn’t be a bad deal at all, actually.

        • michael arazan

          Or maybe blacked out baseball games would be nice too, sometimes the Cardinal Cubs games are blacked out

      • vs8

        It’s cheaper, way cheaper than the Directv League Pass thing.

  • Is it going to take forever to buffer and be horrendous quality during primetime like Youtube currently is?

    • Isn’t usually Youtubes fault. Most ISPs have slower pipelines to youtube CDNs

  • TacoLord187

    Like the idea to a point. I am worried it will take away from us content creators though. I feel like Netflix, Hulu, etc.. Are enough for this already. Plus most shows you can watch on the networks website free anyway. I don’t want YouTube to become a TV station. I want it to stay a place where I and others still have plenty of creativity without worrying about competition with these large networks.

    • They aren’t killing the free and awesome YouTube, they are expanding it. As you said, major networks already have their site/sites, and YouTube would be a “me too” to them. As an independent content creator, you wouldn’t be in competition with the large networks to begin with because, let’s face it, even with YouTube no independent creator has the budget or overall reach a large network does.

  • itsgonnalast

    If I can watch the next Pacquiao fight on YouTube for a couple of bucks, I’ll be a happy man.

  • VerbalJudo22

    To me its all about having a unified place to watch content. If google could deliver channel packages then that would be nice. Or if your paying for a cable package anywhere between 20-60 bucks a month I cant really see where the savings is. No one likes cable companies but what benefit of paying 5.99 for content from 1 channel when you could get hulu plus for 7.99. I don’t see this being very popular unless A) the fees go down or B) they come up with some great channel packages. I could see a scenario where parents pay 5.00-10 for a cartoon network, Nickelodeon and Disney Bundle. But I cant see the average person paying for youtube channel subscriptions and cable or getting rid of cable to pay nearly the same thing for 2 or 3 channels.

    Just my humble opinion.

    • SkylaC90

      That actually makes alot of sense and you bring up some good points, I guess time will tell how these subscriptions play out, it’s still in it’s early days after all.

    • Content is key here. I pay $59.99 for ~150 HD channels (SD channels are officially dead to me, no matter the content). However, I only REALLY watch ~10 channels on a regular basis. However, the money I pay is being given to channels I don’t actually watch, which reduces the money paid to the channels I do enjoy, which means that, in the end, they will have less money which translates to less content.

      However, by paying $59.99 for those 10 YouTube channels, I am significantly increasing my contribution to the channels I care about. Not to mention, the % that Google takes I am certain would go towards more innovation than if I gave the same amount to Comcast. It’s what I’d call a “win-win”.

    • JasonIvers

      I don’t remember the last time I saw a $20 cable subscription available… the minimum I’ve seen is $40. That would be about 6 channels, or 10 for $60 (which seems to be a more normal cable bill). I would guess that most people don’t actually watch more than 6-10 channels, regardless, and, as Justtyn said, that money would go directly to those channels to fund more of the same type of content that I like to watch, and presumably without having to pimp themselves out for advertising dollars. More content that I want to see, with less advertising (and less advertising influence) is a win to me.

  • joejoe5709

    I fear this is only the beginning and they’ll soon be charging for things that were once free. But paranoid thoughts aside, this is awesome. Hulu sucks and Netflix isn’t much better. I’d love for YouTube/Google to put out a competitive product.

  • BaconEater

    Just curious. How’s this related to Android at all?

    • Google

    • John Davids

      It isn’t This is an Android enthusiast site, but it doesn’t preclude other “techie” news now and again, especially when it involves Google and the products they own / control. I mean, the site is called “Droid Life” and they most certainly cover things outside the realm of the Motorola line of Droid smartphones. Must be troll or someone who never reads this site 🙂

    • joejoe5709

      DL is more of a “Google” blog than a pure Android site these days. I personally love this type content and it certainly relates to Android users. Occasionally they’ll even post a review of other phones such as a Windows Phone. Always good to know what the “competition” is up to. All of it is useful in creating an Army of loyal (militant?) Google/Android followers.

    • Ian

      Youtube has an Android app. Oh and its owned by Google….who makes Android.

  • ConCal

    I’m actually excited by this!!! It makes it one step closer to a Netflix type deal.

  • warenmac

    This seems similar to Amazon Prime (Without the two-day shipping). It’d be awesome if they got a lot more original content, with better budgets akin to Netflix.

  • Mark F

    I love the idea. You can watch a specific subscription without having to pay for a cable package.

  • Stevedub40

    The UFC channel looks pretty sweet. Not sure if I will be able to justify $5.99 with the wife though 🙁

    • grow some balls… $5.99…that’s less than .20cents per day! Dont you work? Dont you pay bills? why ask the wife to spend $5.99? Im married and i take care of my family yet i still get to splurge a bit for my personal enjoyment.

      • Kids suck

      • Josh Flowers

        with a budget, yes. $5.99 is do-able, otherwise some $5.99 purchases add up; by the end of the year, that’s close to $72–a month’s worth of car insurance for some people.
        but i agree–as long as it’s talked over & agreed upon then $5.99 is a pretty reasonable cost for a channel devoted to UFC–as long as it’s actually showing the same fights as its television counterpart.

      • h

        For that .20 cents a day you could feed a child in Africa or so the TV tells me.

  • Ken Bosse

    I would pay for some service, such as if TBS or ESPN had this. Anything to not make me have to pay for crappy cable anymore. But I don’t see this working for the every day person who has a you tube channel.

    • I don’t think this program is aimed at small-fries, as it were. They specifically mention it being made for channels whose owners are ALREADY making money from that content, such as the UFC and Sesame Street from the article.

  • rcpa

    The beginning of the end of broadcast television.

    • EvanTheGamer

      Let’s hope not.

    • joejoe5709

      Bow to your Google SkyNet overlords.

    • If Hulu or Netflix hasn’t killed it. YouTube won’t.

      • I beg to differ.

        • I’d bet my life savings on it.

          • I would posit that there is a significant difference between VoD (Netflix/Hulu) and broadcast (CBS/NBC/ABD/Fox). For VoD, you must choose what you want to watch each time you want to watch anything. With broadcast, you watch the live programming in the order the broadcaster decides. The upshot is that one requires some minimal amount of decision making, while the other is one question: Do I want to watch what is on right this minute, yes/no?

            With paid channels, YouTube can bridge that gap. They already have livestreaming capabilities via Hangouts, so there is nothing to prevent a content provider from providing a steady stream of content on their “channel”, and subsequently posting that content for VoD immediately afterwards. THAT is the future of television, and YouTube has everything in place now for that to happen. Now all they need is a major content provider to show that it is viable, and it is off to the races.

          • It’s called DVR also. I’m just saying, YouTube may do some but not alot.

          • JasonIvers

            YouTube is following a completely different model than Netflix/Hulu, though. Netflix and Hulu both offer a service oriented at the consumer of content… sort of like a single channel (or group of channels, a la Discovery). YouTube is providing a much more producer of content oriented service… distribution, basically, like a cable network.

            The structure YouTube is setting up essentially allows production companies to have their own channels that are directly revenue producing. This is (or at least could be) an actual disruptive innovation… Netflix and Hulu aren’t disruptive in the same way (more like a DVR is disruptive).

            It’s approaching the same area from completely different angles, much like Apple and Google with iOS and Android, with one attempting to make money directly, and the other making money off of services (and advertising off of those services).

          • rcpa

            YouTube subscription channels will have a huge effect on the television industry. It allows content producers to sell directly to the customer and eliminate the networks in the middle. It’s a lot like what Amazon is doing to the book industry. Anyone can publish a book on Amazon, so authors no longer have to convince a publisher to carry their books, and they can keep more of the profit. There are a lot of really good, independently published novels on Amazon that cost only $2-$5 instead of the $10-$20 that the publishers would sell them for. YouTube will do the same thing with television. No longer will a television show producer need to convince a network to carry their show. They can now deliver it directly to the consumer. You know that show you really loved but the networks canceled it after one season? That will be a thing of the past. You will have far more choice than you currently have and there will be more content that fits your particular taste.

          • JWellington

            I didn’t know that, thanks!

      • Warwick

        I agree with this man right here,

      • itznfb

        Especially when YouTube is next to useless. It’s the absolute worst content streaming service on the internet. I have 4 gig fiber at work and YouTube take 3 hours to load a 20 minute video. I have 300 meg fiber at home and the same thing. I would never pay YouTube so I can watch 2 seconds of video in between 5 minute buffering segments.

        • CasperTFG

          Wow. Who’s down voting you. It’s true.

        • Daistaar

          Sounds more like you’re trying to spank the monkey over 28.8k lol

        • Ian

          Perhaps with a subscription will come more bandwidth.

        • renGek

          Must be regional or your isp is throttling you. I have never experienced anything like it and all I have is 10mbps. For example, I’ve been watching various 30 minute clips each night for a vacation that I’m planning. Watching it in 720p and I can only recall one clip that stuttered. The rest, the buffer were well ahead of the stream. I’ve watched entire 720p movies on youtube streamed to my tv.

      • Ian

        It’s not a “one-and-done” solution as you are implying. No single provider is going to torpedo broadcast. However, as the market for services like Hulu or Netflix grows and people’s perception of entertainment consumption begins to shift, we could very well being to see the end of broadcast television.

  • Mark F

    I love the idea. You don’t have to have a cable package in order to watch something.

    • 4n1m4L

      Agreed. Die cable die

    • EvanTheGamer

      I’d prefer to watch cable on my HDTV in my room. My computer and everything else is in my office. My computer isn’t connected to my HDTV.

      This new YouTube subscription non-sense changes nothing. Cable TV won’t go away anytime soon.

      • JRomeo

        you don’t need a computer connected to an HDTV to watch youtube on your television…. I watch Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube ALL THE TIME on my television, with no laptop connected…. all through my xbox.

        • Even if you have a smart TV. I watch all of those on the Smart TV. And it’s in HD

          • Guest345

            HTPC in the living room, apple tv with xbmc (Plex is an option too) and roku in the bedroom. Problem solved.

        • yet you have to pay Microsoft/Xbox to watch FREE youtube? lol

          • Basically paying $7 a month to watch YouTube.

          • Ian

            Basically, but it comes with hundreds of other features. So I guess it’s worth it.

          • Ian

            We pay Microsoft for Xbox Live, being able to watch YouTube as well is just a feature. Kind of like when cable or satellite carry your local broadcast channels, you could grab rabbit ears and watch them for free. Or paying your ISP for internet access to watch the free YouTube, same thing. But yea lol or w/e.

          • michael arazan

            what was it last $50-150 a year to use xbox live and there isn’t even a browser to search the net for all the free shows so you don’t have to pay netflix or hulu

          • JRomeo

            Touche, it would be nice if the Roku box would offer youtube.

        • JasonIvers

          PS3 allows the same thing without having to pay the yearly fee to MS (or Sony, in this case).

      • As JRomeo said, you don’t need a full blown PC to watch youtube, netflix, hulu, etc on you TV. There are plenty of small media players out there that will do it. Heck, most TVs will do it now on their own.

      • sc4fpse

        You’re right. We should back away from this sort of thing because you don’t want to hook up your computer to your HDTV. /s

      • PhoenixPath

        “My computer isn’t connected to my HDTV.”

        I think I see your problem… (and “computer” doesn’t mean HTPC, laptop, or desktop anymore…it could mean that $60 HD Android-on-a-stick device that gets your HD Youtube, netflix, Hulu…etc…)

        I know, not everyone’s there yet, but Cable is getting less and less necessary for a whole lot of folks.

        We have basic, but only because I haven’t the nerve to give it up quite yet. Honestly cannot recall the last time I used it.

        • renGek

          Part of the problem of ditching cable is that almost every provider will charge you an extra $10 for internet if you don’t subscribe to their cable tv as well. All I can say is google fiber, hurry up.

          • PhoenixPath

            Unless the TV service itself is $10 or less, it’ll still save you money. 🙂

            If you’re willing to give it up…(unlike myself…)

      • rcpa

        Your HDTV is a computer. And if you have a recent one, there’s a good chance it has apps that stream video from NetFlix, Hulu, etc across the internet. Then there’s BlueRay players that do the same thing. And RoKu boxes for under $70.

      • renGek

        If your hdtv has wifi you wouldn’t need a computer at all. At various times I have either my laptop, cellphone or tablet connected to my tv. I just need about 5 channels and if youTube offers it I can ditch the cable.