New content is reportedly heading to YouTube, but only for those willing to pay.
The Google-owned video-sharing site is gearing up to introduce new paid subscription-only channels, according to an AdAge report that cited "multiple people familiar with the plans." The report indicated that YouTube has already talked to a handful of producers about developing channels that would require a fee.
The first paid channels will reportedly cost between $1 and $5 a month (approximately 60p to £3), and could be introduced as early as the second quarter of this year. These channels would likely be created by media outlets that already have large followings, such as Machinima, Maker Studios, and Fullscreen. But YouTube is also looking beyond its current partners to find new producers.
Moreover, the site is considering charging for other items like entire libraries of videos, live events, as well as self-help and financial advice shows, according to the report. YouTube will start small with around 25 channels as an experiment to see how successful the new model is.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Google reportedly confirmed that it has been looking into paid subscriptions for some time.
"We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models," a Google spokesman said in a statement to AdAge. "The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that."
YouTube now ranks as the world's third-largest social network, behind Facebook and Google+, according to market research firm Trendstream's Global Web Index. The site attracted some 300 million active users in the fourth quarter of 2012.