YOUTUBE SET TO CHARGE FOR WATCHING VIDEOS – Google, the owners of YouTube are about to launch a ‘subscription’ service this week and will charge users to have access to certain types of content.
YouTube has announced that the subscription charge would only apply to between 25 and 50 of its ‘specialized’ channels and apart from these YouTube will remain open and free for people to view the videos people upload.
The Financial Times has reported that a single-channel subscription is likely to cost £1.28 ($1.99) per month for the specialist channels.
YouTube’s visitor rates and interactivity is certainly impressive with a reported 1 billion plus users visiting each month. With over 4 billion hours of video watched each month it is notable to say that YouTube visitors certainly like the content produced and uploaded by users.
When it comes to content creation YouTube boasts 72 hours of video is uploaded to its servers every minute of the day and that currently 70% of all its visitors are U.S users.
In 2011 YouTube reported that over 1 trillion videos were viewed in 53 countries and 61 languages around the world – that’s approximately 140 videos viewed for every man, woman and child on the planet.
YouTube described a number of benefits for subscribed users, including access to exclusive content and the ability to turn advertising off; something that many users would certainly like to do.
While Google openly penalizes other websites for displaying too many advertisements this doesn’t apply to its own services. A recent EU ruling has also forced Google to cease and desist from manually by-passing its own ranking algorithms, which determines where a page ranks in the search results, for its own services, such as YouTube.
This is certainly another way to boost Google’s every growing annual profits and share price but will people pay for the content that they current get for free? These remains to be seen but research clearly shows that people are more than willing to pay a small subscription fee for very high quality content and so this appears to be a shrewd money spinner for the company.
“We’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.” Google Spokesman
I personally have mixed feelings on this and I won’t subscribe due to the recent EU ruling on Google’s manipulation on its search results. All businesses need to make a profit in order to survive but when you are in a position to garner traffic over your competitors it is wrong and there is nothing to say that Google, once given the opportunity to make even more money, will not find another way of manipulating its search results in order to draw greater traffic levels to its YouTube service.
Already YouTube has a vast network and visibility in the search results; try searching for any content and it is likely the first few results will be made up of YouTube video. In the long run this damages consumer choice and squeezes out the small competitors leaving Google, and its services, as the only choice for users.
Would you pay for a YouTube Subscription? Have your say… leave your comments below.