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YouTube May Be Introducing Subscription Channels

Would you pay to watch YouTube videos? Rumor has it the digital video giant may be introducing a subscription service


Would you pay to watch YouTube videos? Rumor has it that the digital video monolith will soon be introducing a paid subscription service, which would allow some video producers to charge a (small) fee to viewers.

There's no need to panic: the vast majority of the videos will stay remain free for your low-budget perusal, although the plan intends to allow some producers to charge for special or more exclusive content, in a bid to attract more original programming to the website.

The news — such as it is — was broken by the Financial Times, which notes that the plan may be formally announced this week, and some channels would charge as little as $1.99 a week.

YouTube didn't confirm the move to the Financial Times outright, but said that their team was currently “looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer."

YouTube's subscription plan appears to have been an "open secret" for a while now, according to the New York Times, as it attempts to create more unique content, bringing it into competition with the model set up by Netflix, which has 30 million streaming subscribers in the US.

It's unknown at the moment how YouTube plans to split the profits with video producers who decide to sign up for the new service.

According to CBS, a line of code has recently mysteriously appeared on Android's YouTube application, stating "You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer," and "You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer."