In a Netflix or Hulu-like approach, YouTube has announced the ability for publishers to go subscription-based on its video network. To start, YouTube has launched a pilot program with a small group of partners that can offer subscriptions for their content, starting at $0.99 (£65) a month.
YouTube has chosen several popular channels for the pilot, including Cars.TV, UFC Select, SmartTV, PGA Golf Academy, and 49 others. Each subscription-based channel offers a 14-day free trial and also has the ability to discount subscriptions when purchased at a yearly rate. YouTube says that once you subscribe, you'll be able to access the subscription content from a "computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices".
As general testing continues, YouTube says the subscription feature will begin to rollout on a broader basis to "partners" (those who make money from YouTube). The video network has plans for easy discovery of channels that offer subscriptions as it adds more. For now, it has a "Paid Channels" category listing each one. "Just as the partner program empowered creators to take their channels to the next level, we look forward to seeing how this great community of creators moves ahead with a new way to reach the fan communities that made their channels a hit," YouTube said in a blog post.
This isn't the first time YouTube has rolled out purchases across its network. It has linked up with several popular movie studios to offers movies at a rental price. Partners on YouTube can also sell their content if they so choose.