Google is set to introduce new paid subscriptions for specialist video channels on YouTube, as it looks to move beyond its main advertising revenue stream and deliver a wider range of content. According to the Financial Times, Google could launch the new service as early as this week, with up to 50 YouTube channels offering subscriptions to video content from $1.99 a month.
Reports of Google's subscription plans emerged earlier this year. In March, YouTube Vice President Robert Kyncl said subscriptions were "incredibly important" as a tool to create "additional revenue streams" for content creators, and the company has already included code references to the feature in its Android app. It has also invested $200 million in marketing cash to promote original content on YouTube, and subscriptions could help it make some of that back.
YouTube could be on a collision course with Netflix
YouTube subscriptions would put Google on a collision course with video-on-demand services like Netflix, allowing channel owners to finance the creation of new content but also bring in revenue from older shows and films. Google has already been linked with the launch of a music subscription service later this year, reportedly signing a deal with Warner Music Group, one of the three largest music labels. Although Google told the FT that it has "nothing to announce," it did confirm that that it was "looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube."