Free alone no more: YouTube launching paid channels

Paid YouTube channels
YouTube wants your money

Paid channels are coming to YouTube.

Google, the video site's parent company, announced that starting today, it's launching a pilot program for a limited group of partners to offer paid channels on the 'Tube.

Subscription fees will start at $.99 a month, which converts to £.64, AU$.97, but all channels will have a 14-day free trial period and many are said to offer discounted yearly rates.

Over the next few weeks, the company will roll subscriptions out as a self-service feature for qualifying partners.

YouTube dollars

According to a blog post, channel creators have been clamoring for more flexible monetization and content distribution, and YouTube has finally decided to make their wishes come true.

So far, 53 channels fall under the paid umbrella, including, Jim Henson Family TV, Laugh Factory VIP and National Geographic Kids, to name a few.

What's more, hook 'em-in offers are also on the way. YouTube said Sesame Street's channel will play full episodes when its paid channel launches, while the UFC plans on streaming classic fights, including a full-length play of the organization's first event.

Subscribers can view content through a computer, phone, tablet or TV after initially signing up through a computer. However, the option to subscribe on other devices is coming "soon."

As the roll out continues, YouTube said it will make it so viewers can find them just as it's helped viewers find free content in the past.

All in all, this is only the beginning, and the company said that as feedback from creators and users trickles in, we'll hear more on the new venture. Stay tuned.

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.