YouTube Kicks off Paid Subscription Pilot – Starting at $0.99/Month and 53 Channels at Launch

May 9, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Today, YouTube decided to kick off their new service for video content makers which is to charge their users to subscribe to different channels. Google is calling this a “pilot program” right now. It allows content creators to charge users a monthly fee to access and watch their videos. Plans start at $0.99 per month and can be set higher. Channels will also have a 14-day free trial and sold at a discount if users buy into a year at a time, according to YouTube’s post this morning.

This new program or service is launching with 53 paid channels including content from HDNet, UFC, and the PGA Digital Golf Academy. Some of these channels are beginning as high as $9.99 per month. In comparison, that’s $2 more per month than what Netflix charges for streaming here in the US.

This new program is the latest way for YouTube to woo content makers to its platform beyond offering built-in advertising. Smaller competitors like Vimeo, have been looking to target content makers with paid, on-demand videos as means to control distribution and pull in revenue.

Earlier this week, The Financial Times had detailed the entire service for YouTube. But we’ve been hearing about this service coming to YouTube since about February. YouTube has said that the pilot program will expand to other “qualifying partners” in the next few weeks. Right now, Google has a form for content makers to sign up if they wish to do so.

This is an interesting move on YouTube here, and something I thought we’d get at Google I/O next week. But the big question here is if you pay per month, do you still have to see those ads? That’s the one thing I despise about Hulu+. You pay your monthly fee, yet you still have to sit through the ads.

How many of you would pay a set fee per month to watch some of you favorite YouTube channels? Let us know in the comments below.