Would you pay to watch your favorite video channel on YouTube? That's apparently what Google is hoping will happen, and it may be on its way very soon. The company is rumored to be working with a small number of popular YouTube video channel operators on a pilot program that could result in paid video subscriptions as early as this spring.
AdAge.com reports, via unnamed sources, that Google plans to team up with established YouTube partners like Machinima, Maker Studios and Fullscreen to offer up paid subscription tiers, as well as bringing in new content brands. The launch will likely involve no more than 25 YouTube channels at first to test the waters.
Google started offering YouTube feature videos for rent in 2010, but allowing video channels to charge money to access their content could turn YouTube into a true online alternative to a cable TV network, if enough people sign up for them. The company has hinted in the past that they have been thinking about subscription plans for YouTube but have yet to launch such offerings.
Google announced in 2011 that it was helping to fund a number of YouTube channels in the US. The efforts were successful enough that Google announced an expansion of those plans in October 2012 to fund channels made for the France, Germany and the UK markets. However, some YouTube channel creators have apparently complained Google has not done enough to help promote their efforts.
Source: AdAge.com | Image via Google