YouTube reportedly viewing paid subscriptions for some channels

YouTube channels
Channel surfing might cost you

How much is YouTube content worth to you?

That may be a question viewers need to ask themselves in the coming months as the video sharing site is reportedly preparing to launch paid subscriptions for individual channels sometime in the second quarter of 2013.

AdAge reported Tuesday that it spoke with "multiple people" said to be familiar with YouTube's paid-subscription designs.

According to them, YouTube has already asked a few content producers to submit applications to create pay-to-view channels. Access to the first of these new content spaces looks to cost somewhere between $1 and $5 (UK£0.63 - £3.17, AU$0.96 - $4.78) a month.

This is interesting

There's no word yet on which channels will be in the first pay-to-watch wave, and right now the whole project is considered an "experiment."

AdAge noted that in addition to shows broken down by episodes, YouTube is considering charging for things like live events and self-help and financial advice shows as well as older content libraries.

Companies that have already built a YouTube following - such as Machinima, Maker Studios and Fullscreen - are allegedly among the companies YouTube will rely on for content while also exploring partners outside its current circle.

An announcement regarding the new program could come during the Digital Content New Fronts conference in April, one of the publication's sources said.

But not new

The idea of paid YouTube subscriptions is nothing we haven't heard before: CEO Salar Kamangar said several times in 2012 that the company has considered the service, while a YouTube spokesperson told TechRadar Tuesday that the idea has floated around the news since 2011.

In June 2012, Kamangar offered charging for access to "professionally" created content as a possibility.

"It is something that's really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren't on YouTube today, so we're talking very seriously and we're thinking about it very carefully," Kamangar said at the time.

The YouTube head also touched on the subscription model in January 2012, offering ways it could work while also tempering his remarks by stating YouTube didn't have any products to announce.

And though Kamangar got specific a year ago, saying users could subscribe to individual yoga channels, for example, the company is still playing its cards close to the vest.

"We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models," the YouTube spokesperson said in a statement sent to TechRadar.

"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."

The question really isn't if YouTube will launch paid subscriptions for channels, but when. If Tuesday's report is to be believed, the answer might come next season.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.