While YouTube currently charges for things like movies and TV shows, individual channels remain free for everyone to subscribe to and watch. A report from AdAge says that Google is looking into launching paid subscriptions for a particular set of channels, with prices ranging from $1 to $5 a month.
But this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to now start paying for watching anything on YouTube. According to AdAge, YouTube will be treating paid subscriptions as an experiment, so the company is talking to a “small group” of producers, with the initial number of paid channels to be around 25. Here’s the statement given to AdAge by a Google spokesperson:
We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models. The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we’re looking at that.
They also mention that YouTube is looking at both existing channels that consistently perform well, as well as content producers that don’t run a channel on the site yet. One problem this could bring is alienating a significant portion of your advice by putting a payment barrier between them and the content that they’re used to watch for free, with ads. One example given by The Verge is Machinima. What would happen to all their young viewers with no way to pay? They’ll either have to ask their parents, or maybe they’ll stop watching. Fortunately for all you YouTube fans out there, this is again, an experiment. For now.