) is expected to start charging users to view certain (perhaps
all-new) channels on YouTube this week. Will this really happen,
or is it just another rumor gone wild? YouTube has been rumored
to start charging users to subscribe to certain channels for more
than six months. With prices rumored to fall between $0.99 and
$4.99, Google hopes that users will be willing to pay for content
they may have originally received for free -- or so the rumors
The latest report comes from the
, whose sources claim that YouTube will charge $1.99 per month
and per channel for as many as 50 different channels this week.
It is not yet known if these are new or existing channels, but
content providers will reportedly use the subscription revenue to
produce new TV shows or movies.
While $1.99 may not sound like much to a 12-year-old who
cannot live without AwesomenessTV (a successful YouTube channel
that was just
by DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:
) last week), the fees could add up fast.
The Hollywood Reporter
, YouTube has invested more than $200 million to lure recording
artist Jay-Z, actors Ashton Kutcher and Sofia Vergara, and
retired basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, among others. With so
much money poured into their various content deals, these and
other celebrities could be part of the forthcoming subscription
Unlike Netflix (NASDAQ:
) and Hulu, YouTube is not expected to offer a low monthly fee
that encompasses all of its videos into one inexpensive package.
Instead, YouTube is believed to be creating a service that could
become a modern-day Comcast (NASDAQ:
If the reports are true, Google hopes that users will slowly
become comfortable with the idea of paying for YouTube. This may
not be the case.
While consumers are typically willing to pay for some forms of
entertainment (such as movies when they first arrive in
theaters), they are always on the lookout for free alternatives.
The music industry knows this
better than anyone
One of the biggest sources of YouTube's success has been its
ability for viewers to quickly and easily share videos with each
other via links and website embeds. Subscription-based content
will eliminate both of these elements and make it much more
difficult for content creators to receive millions of views. If
YouTube offers a free pass of any kind for those who don't pay
(so that embeds are still possible), then no one is going to want
These are just some of the problems that await YouTube at the
launch of its reported subscription-based service.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer
of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or
louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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