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A handful of popular content producers on YouTube could start charging for channel subscriptions this spring, according to a report on AdAge. The move is intended to lure eyeballs and advertiser dollars away from traditional TV and would kick off with just a few a small group of unnamed channels charging somewhere between $1 and $5 a month.
AdAge says YouTube will lean on the media companies that have already shown the ability to develop large followings on the video sharing website for the initial paid-subscription rollout, including networks like Machinima, Maker Studios and Fullscreen. But the company is also looking outside its current roster of partners for candidates.
Whether partners intend to bring new, higher production value or exclusive content to the platform is unclear. YouTube knows users would be anything but thrilled over having to pay for content they've been watching for free, and as such they're advising content makers to consider how their existing audience would react.
The revenue split from subscriptions is expected to be similar to the 45-55 split that is common for ads on YouTube – ads in pay channels is also a possibility. In addition to episodic content, the company is also considering charging for content libraries, access to live events, a la pay-per-view, and other type of content. "We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models. The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform," a Google spokesperson told AdAge.