YouTube Set to Start Subscription Service

on Tuesday, May. 7th

The New York Times has done the reporting here:

This week YouTube, the world's largest video Web site, will announce a plan to let some video makers charge a monthly subscription to their channels. There will be paid channels for children's programming, entertainment, music and many other topic areas, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been asked by YouTube not to comment publicly yet. Some of the channels – there will be several dozen at the outset – will cost as little as $1.99 a month.

Riddle me this: are we really ready for à la carte video subscriptions? Specifically are we ready for à la carte video served up via YouTube's rather anemic video player?

Let's face it: YouTube may be the most ubiquitous video player, but it is also one of the worst. They've made great strides in the years since they launched, and the arrival of rivals in the ecosystem like Vimeo have certainly lit a bit of a fire under the engineering team… but it's still lame.

Sputtery, chrome-intrusive and pop-up adtastic are the terms that come to mind when I think of the YouTube player. I go out of my way not to use it when watching music videos, which means I don't spend a lot of time on Vevo, who rely upon that player.

I can only begin to imagine the rage I'd feel if I was actually paying for YouTube quality presentation.

The business model–individual subscriptions to Kibo-knows how many different channels–may leave a lot of people scratching their heads as well. I know that the great joy, and sneaky secret, of Netflix and Hulu is that one bulk rate buys access to a huge catalog I never bother to access. It's fire and forget consumer spending, a close cousin to impulse shopping. Multi-channel subscriptions beg the question: what am are really paying for?

Have a different take? Talk to me on Twitter @noahjnelson.

NYTimes via IndieWire


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