YouTube wants to offer a paid subscription model, and I’m wondering what it will offer. I love my Netflix, but a paid YouTube model for ad-free viewing could work well, especially as it is said to allow subscribers to store videos offline on their mobile devices. Of course, it has to be worthwhile to the content creators, but that might be more about threats than promises.
In a letter sent to creators, YouTube explained that the paid offering would supplement creator’s advertising revenue. Of course this means signing up for the new terms and conditions. However, according to The Verge, these might not be as beneficial as creator’s might like. Subscription revenues will be pooled with partners receiving 55% of the total – individual partners’ cuts will be based on how much time their viewers spend watching their channels, so medium-sized channels may not earn much from the subscription. But it’s this next part that’s rather disconcerting:
And YouTube’s carrot comes with a stick — creators are required to participate in the subscription offering, or every video on their channels will be set to private, sources said. The move will likely upset some creators, who may object to aspects of the program. “While we can’t comment on ongoing discussions, giving fans more choice to enjoy the content they love and creators more opportunity to earn revenue are always amongst our top priorities,” a YouTube spokeswoman told in an email.
YouTube has already favoured some channels over others. If you sign up and mention you like gaming, it will instantly recommend PewDiePie, whether you actually like his videos or not. Many people end up subscribing to him based purely on YouTube recommendations. Of course, if they later watch his videos, that’s also fine. However, smaller gaming YouTubers often feel like it’s harder for fans to find their content. With a program like this, it could make things even worse. Smaller channels won’t get much profit out of the premium users, getting only a small slice of the pie. But, if they decide not to get in involved, their channels will be penalized and set to private, resulting in no views and thus, no advertising revenue.
I’m curious how the big channels will deal with this. There is an increasing shift towards Twitch, but YouTube is still a major player. It will be hard to totally abandon it, but I’m curious how content creators will deal with this change. I guess Let’s Plays just became a lot more profitable for Google than for the creators.
Last Updated: April 9, 2015