London: YouTube has launched a trial scheme for paid channels on its website.
Under the pilot programme, a small number of content makers will offer the channels for subscriptions starting at 0.99 dollar a month. Each channel will offer a free 14-day trial and many will have discounted annual rates, reports the BBC.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said the launch was part of an effort to enable "content creators to earn revenue for their creativity".
The paid channels involved in the pilot are diverse. They include National Geographic Kids, Acorn - which provides episodes from several British TV series -and Fix My Hog Premium, which is aimed at Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts.
YouTube said this is just the beginning, adding that they will be rolling paid channels out more broadly in the coming weeks as a self-service feature for qualifying partners.
The advent of paid channels on YouTube means Google joins Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in offering subscription-based alternatives to traditional pay-TV.
According to Ian Maude, an online media expert at consultants Enders Analysis, the internet and TV worlds are colliding. He said the YouTube move will make it much harder for smaller standalone online subscription-based platforms because Google has the infrastructure to make it easy for content to be hosted, delivered and billed for.
Google bought YouTube in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars. The service is believed to generate a small amount of revenue from advertising, but the vast majority of its content has been free-to-watch.
First Published: Friday, May 10, 2013, 10:21