YouTube announced that they are now allowing their publishers to charge subscription fees. This means if you upload videos to YouTube, you can charge people to access them.
Pay to see my cat on YouTube?
Yeah, I have mixed feelings about it too. I would rather watch a 15 second commercial than spend $5 a month to see most videos. In fact, I would probably stop watching a channel altogether rather than pay a subscription fee for their service. No video on YouTube is that important to me.
So what's the benefit?
I suspect that many channels will setup a seperate, commerrcial free, paid channel and beef up the length of commercials on the main channel. That way you can have the free version with longer commercials or the paid version with no commercials. That I can handle. I spent my youth (pre-DVR) watching commercial supported TV and I still will watch a commercial from time to time if it catches my attention, asterisks & all.
Who will do it?
That is a good question. The news agencies talked about National Geographic, Jim Henson & UFC, but I think they've missed the mark on coverage. There is one industry that Google doesn't have enough share in: Porn. Since they cater to the full range of people they fight, very hard, every day to prevent pornographic results from showing up in their standard search tools. On YouTube publishers can be banned for not properly marking their content as adult.
Sounds like Google doesn't want porn.
It depends. There's a lot of money in porn, which is why it's still around and so successful on the internet. Google has spent so much time fighting it they haven't been able to properly monetize it. Now that they have investors to please, money has become a priority. So, how do you make money from one of the largest industries on the internet? Let them run their business on your servers.
Isn't there already...
Pornographic videos on YouTube? Yes, but there were a lot of problems associated with them. YouTubers complain, videos are mislabeled not adult, and worst of all: the porn publishers are always trying to lead people off YouTube. YouTube does not want this. Keep people on YouTube and you make more money. If you cannot access porn videos without paying subscription fees there are almost no complaints. If you don't have to leave YouTube to access their paid content, Google investors are happy.
YouTube is the best option for online video on the internet. They have the most users, video upload options, promotion options and the lowest cost of video hosting. This is the biggest change in the porn industry since PayPal and I suspect over the next year the millions of porn sites on the internet will be moving a good portion of their content to YouTube. Now we can look forward to even more suggestive ads and messages asking us to come to their YouTube channel. So, there's that.