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YouTube introduce paid subscription channels, would you pay for it?

May 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM


by Mikul Patel

Digital Marketing Consultant at Matraxis

YouTube have rolled out a trial scheme for YouTube paid channels. Currently offered to a small number of channels, the scheme will allow channels to charge for subscriptions in addition to allowing in video advertising. Is this the right approach to further monetise the world’s largest video website or will people switch to better free alternatives?


 youtube paid channels

  • Subscriptions starting from $0.99 (£0.64) a month
  • 14-day trial
  • Discounted annual rates
  • 53-channels in pilot line-up
  • Paid using credit card or Google Wallet service



The paid-for online subscription model

Paying for online video content is nothing new; services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have offered a subscription model for many years and succeeded in driving sustainable revenue. The difference with YouTube’s proposed approach is that it is down to the channel to dictate the price they want to charge. The challenge is left to the channel to constantly create content that is worth paying for.


YouTube would naturally take a cut from any subscription fees (percentage currently unknown), and it would be hoped that this would generate greater returns than the current pre/in-video adverts models which have drawn criticism lately for poor ad revenue sharing.



Impact on viewing free videos

In theory there shouldn’t be any impact on the millions of free videos currently on YouTube. Subscription channels have the ability to target an audience who want to easily access premium content from a single platform.


tna wrestling plus paid channel youtube


One strategy that content providers may want to offer is to manage one free channel to support a paid-for channel. For example, wrestling channel TNA have given paid-users access to watch past PPV events in full through their TNA Wresting Plus channel. By using their free channel, TNA Wrestling, TNA could aim to convert their free subscribers into paid ones by enticing to join the ‘TNA Wrestling Plus’ experience.



Understanding video performance with video analytics

Deciding to switch to a subscription model is not a trivial task. Content providers should first understand how free subscribers are interacting and viewing current content; what is the average viewing time? Are people pausing the video a lot? Do a lot of people view on mobile?


We already know that YouTube rewards engagement with higher video search rankings, so content providers should make use of video analytics to identify areas for improvement before adopting a paid-subscription model.



Matraxis are a leading independent organisation that specialise in helping organisations understand their web analytics. If you are interested in analytics and achieving greater returns from your digital campaigns, contact us for more information.

Tags: YouTube YouTube Paid Channels Netflix Hulu Plus TNA Wrestling Google
Category: Social Media News

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