By Dave Bouressa
A new article by Adage.com was just released, stating that Youtube would be "experimenting" with paid subscriptions this coming Spring.
YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.
The "pay-per-view" idea, I can sort of understand. Few people actually use the "live" feature on youtube, and the few times it is used is for important events, such as charity concerts or government announcements. However, to make people pay for their subscriptions is absurd.
There is a reason people click that subscribe button-it is because they like the content, and want to see more in the future. Youtube is doing literally the exact same thing with Facebook. Facebook made it so a page's post only shows up on 7% of it's "liked" audiences newsfeed, unless the page owner wants to pay 5 dollars for every 500 additional people they want to reach, for every single post.
And as a youtuber myself, here are two points on why this is ridiculous.
As a viewer: I have had an account on youtube for about 3 years now, and I have built up a high list of subscriptions in that time, reaching over 300, many of which post more than others. However, if this goes through, there will be no way to tell who is posting more, or even posting at all without having to fork over some money. What's worse, a major chunk of the youtube audience consists of children, who have no way to pay a monthly subscription. Rather than inspiring young filmmakers, Youtube has decided to rather discourage them, because they didn't have 5 dollars they could spend, and essentially destroy all traffic to their site.
As a video creator: My username is Davey647Returns. I have 612 subscribers and over one million total video views. However, I make Star Wars videos, particularly Star Wars videos using clips from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I am unable to join the Youtube Partner program because I work with copyrighted material. I am able to do what I do, and continue doing it over these past 3 years simply because it is parody/tribute/free use/etc, (it's complicated and tricky). In other words, I am not allowed to make any money off of my videos, or Youtube and possibly Lucasfilm (And now Disney) will have lawyers chasing me up a tree. And even though I don't make a single cent off my videos, I'm ok with that. I do it because it's fun, creative, and interesting to see what other people who make the same types of videos have to say. It really is like a community. However, when those 612 subscribers have to pay 1-5 dollars to see content I've worked hard on,
1) It discourages the creator to make new content
2) It discourages the viewer to continue watching
3) Youtube is getting 612-3,060 dollars on my account, and I'm not seeing a single cent of this. I'm used to not getting money on my videos, particularly videos with ads thrown on them (due to using copyrighted music), but this is ridiculous.
Hopefully this does not go through, but seeing how Google owns Youtube, and Google practically owns the digital world, there's a good chance that's happening...
So be sure to go through your youtube subscriptions and watch as much as you can, because unless
you've got a nice fat wallet, you won't be able to see anymore.
And while I still can, be sure to check out my channel, Davey647Returns, if you enjoy Star Wars and Star Wars videos. It would be greatly appreciated, especially since I feel like my subscriber count will be going down shortly...