YouTube to start charging users?



Rumours are abounding that YouTube is going to start charging for some content. The stories started with content producers, who claimed that YouTube owners, Google, approached them asking for ideas for channels which could cost between $1 and $5 a month.

So what is it up to, and how will it affect you?


The reports surfaced in Ad Age, which claimed that these channels would have episodes of regular programmes, as well as access to past episodes and live events. The report suggested that the new model could be launched as early as April this year.

This is not shocking news from YouTube - which is owned by Google. It has been talking about subscription channels at industry events for some time.

It has previously discussed offering subscriptions to existing channels which are currently only available on cable networks. Rather than paying for a cable subscription, people could choose the channels they want and get them through YouTube.

This would make them direct competitors to cable networks, but it's not the only option. Google said in a statement: "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. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that."

Wired magazine said that video producers would not confirm the reports, but added that this may not be a huge surprise, because if they had been approached, the chances are that they would have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

So what does it mean for you?

The good news is that this doesn't mean we'll be expected to pay for everything on YouTube. The Ad Age report said that it would be likely to start on a small scale, with 25 subscription channels at the launch. The idea would be to see whether they could persuade people to part with money for content from a site that has always offered everything for free.

So you can continue watching those funny cat videos free of charge, and choose whether to add in a couple of subscription channels of more mainstream programmes.

But what do you think? Would you pay for YouTube content? Let us know in the comments.