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Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is in the process of changing up YouTube. The new model would allow individuals who create and post videos to charge viewers to see content. This move would help raise revenue for all parties involved. For YouTube, this may mean increased postings and thereby increased advertisement revenue. For individual creators, this new pay-to-view channel system would allow more direct profit from their labor.
The pay-to-view concept would allow for a number of varying payment models. Creators could charge a flat subscription fee for viewers of their channel. Others could offer “windowing”–allowing people to pay for an early sneak peak at new content. A number of creators and posters find this process of windowing more favorable than taking their currently free channels to a subscription service.
There are hopes among YouTube executives that this model may catch the eye of some struggling cable television networks. The networks may find that people will take a chance on their shows by paying a subscription fee for some on demand content, rather than tune in to regularly scheduled programming.
One confirmation that this process is entering the marketplace sooner rather than later has come from the coding for a new YouTube cell-phone app update. The app’s code states plainly, “[y]ou can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.” The purpose of the language seems clear: pay-to-view channels are coming.
Though rumors regarding this new pay-to-view service were originally a footnote to other murmurs about Google launching a Spotify-esque service, the above code seems to make the launch all but certain.
With any luck this service will allow for more budding artists, writers, and filmmakers to take a stab at making a living. Or it will allow for successful bloggers to find another outlet to shop their wares. Most likely this will simply be a way for networks to gain another revenue stream for the ever growing demand for on-demand streaming. At bottom, we can hope that the end result will be higher quality content for the user.
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