YOUTUBE HAS UNVEILED its much-speculated-upon plan to charge viewers to subscribe to watch some videos on the site.
A small number of channels have begun offering paid channels for subscribers only, starting at $0.99 per month. As the service launches today, there are 53 such channels, including National Geographic Kids and the company behind Sesame Street.
For this money, YouTube said viewers will be able to watch live fights on a UFC channel, for example, or full episodes of children’s television programmes on the Sesame Street channel.
YouTube said many channels will offer yearly rates at a discount, and every channel will offer a 14-day trial.
Irish users who try to click into any of the channels get a message saying “This paid channel is unavailable in your country”.
The service moves YouTube closer to services such as Netflix, and a step away from its beginnings as a way to showcase amateur homemade videos.
In a blogpost, YouTube said the move was an extension of its partner programme which has been running since 2007 to “enable content creators to earn revenue for their creativity.”
Users have to subscribe from a computer, but YouTube said viewers will be able to watch the channels across a range of devices and will soon be able to subscribe from these devices.
“This is just the beginning,” YouTube said on its blog. The Google-owned site said it will be rolling out more paid channels in the coming weeks.
YouTube said there are more than one million channels which are making money on the site.