May 06, 2013

Would you pay to subscribe to YouTube channels?

It looks like YouTube is going to add fee based subscriptions to YouTube. While I definitely prefer the a la carte method to paying tons of money for cable that I mostly don't want, I'm starting to feel like I'm not saving very much over "cutting the cord" if every media source starts hitting me up for $10 or so each month. Sure, individually, that's not much, but when you start adding in Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, etc., it adds up to almost the same as cable. I've watched YouTube for free for so long that it's hard for me to thing of it as a pay service. Where is the tipping point that makes it not worthwhile?

No, what kind of content would they offer me that would make me want to pay? YouTube is fine for funny stuff or music videos or whatever, but I see no reason to pay for a subscription. There's just nothing there that would attract me.
The answer to your last question is subjective. I wouldn't subscribe to YouTube for a fee to idly watch random videos, but if I had a compelling personal or professional reason, I would, just as some people are willing to pay Dropbox $9.99 a month for 100 GB of space, which is 50 times what the service gives you for free (this isn't counting the extra space you get for referring other customers, though that's capped at 18 GB).

A la carte definitely is preferable to the cable model, where you pay for stuff you don't watch. And while it's hard to think of paying for something you've been getting for free, I think we're going to see more people paying for premium content over time.

In fairness, I don't think anyone is talking about making all of YouTube something you have to pay for, only selected channels. To use a cable analogy, it is as if you could get your basic cable for free, and only pay for HBO so you could watch righteous Game of Thrones action to your hearts desire. Also, early reports I've seen are talking about $2 for month for each channel, so to stick with Game of Thrones, if I could watch a months worth of episodes for $2, I would be shelling out those dollars like I was Littlefinger. But unfortunately, that's not going to be an option.


YouTube made a billion dollars last year with user created content, so it's not like they are hurting. I will be surprised if there are a lot of people that start paying to view specific channels.

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