Thoughts on YouTube's Move to Subscriptions

Brianby Brian Bell

Chief Marketing Officer


We talked earlier about the upcoming war for your living room. We predicted a battle where Netflix, Microsoft, Sony, and Apple would battle against traditional powers like Comcast and HBO to provide not only subscription content, but the hardware to grant you access to the services and shows you enjoy. Now, with Tuesday’s announcement that YouTube is launching subscription channels, we have a new challenger entering the ring.


According to multiple sources, YouTube is preparing to launch paid subscription channels in the second quarter of 2013, allowing individual channel producers to charge between $1 and $5 a month to subscribers. Content won’t be limited to episodes, but content libraries and live events as well.


At an AllThingsD media conference last year, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar discussed the opportunity to flank certain cable networks that were having trouble building enough of a following to elicit subscription fees from distributors. To put it another way, he saw what many technology players already knew: traditional cable companies are vulnerable and now is the time to make new, flexible, mutually-beneficial relationships with customers.


And we’re excited about this. We encourage the competition between cable companies and newer players like AT&T, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and yes, YouTube. The competitors are coming from all sectors of industry: Microsoft and Sony have already moved to make their entertainment centers not just video game platforms, but hubs to watch streaming sports and movies. And HBO has already made moves to become untethered to the cable company it once needed to survive. The real winner in all of this will be the consumer as each business vies to offer the most flexibility, the most options, and the most personalized relationship with the consumer.

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