Your daily mid-afternoon procrastination may need to find a new outlet.
Google-owned YouTube.com, a.k.a. the Internet video free-for-all, may be turning into a pay service for certain popular channels. In response to a report that the change to a partial paywall could come as soon as next week, a YouTube spokesperson tells EW, “We have nothing to announce at this time, but 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 partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”
A report from The Financial Times says the new pay model “will apply to as many as 50 YouTube channels, [and] viewers will be able to subscribe to each channel for as little as $1.99 a month.” In this way, it sounds like YouTube will become similar to Hulu: a lot of the content is free, but to get all of it viewers must pay a small monthly fee. It seems unlikely YouTube will eventually charge for all its content (cat videos are probably safe for now), but channels that are creating content specifically for YouTube, like original web series, seem destined to eventually cost fans some cash. The Financial Times reports that a few of the channels targeted for premium status include The Onion and World Wrestling Entertainment.
Would you pay to watch YouTube?