YouTube will introduce paid subscriptions by spring of this year.
A report released by Ad Age today states that the site will be charging somewhere between $1 and $5 per month to viewers looking to access certain channels. YouTube will also charge customers who wish to access some content libraries, live events including paper view, self help programs, and financial advice shows.
The company has reportedly reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. The first paid channels on YouTube will cost users between $1 and $5 per month.
Ad Age claims to have obtained this information from multiple people familiar with YouTube's plans. These sources revealed that the company would begin launching this service as early as Q2 2013 with around 25 channels. YouTube will split revenue 45-55 with content creators.
The sources also stated that the channels could be introduced to the public at the Digital Content New Fronts in late April, where digital media companies such as YouTube, AOL and Yahoo normally host advertisers for presentations announcing new online video series.
YouTube's decision to charge for specific subscriptions will affect the way most people consume media significantly. The site normally offers music, videos, and shows free of charge. However, it appears that it has found a way to cut down on the amount of free content that is available.
This move could potentially hurt YouTube as the site is known for providing its audience with loads of free content. Napster endured a similar situation when it decided to begin charging users to download music. However, the main difference was that Napster was illegal since it allows users to keep the products. YouTube only lets users see content.