Google launches subscription service for 30 channels on YouTube

The new service will be available in 10 countries.

New Statesman
Photograph: Getty Images.

The search engine giant Google has launched a global subscription service for 30 channels on its subsidiary YouTube as it forays into a market dominated by cable and satellite television.

The move will enable channel owners more flexibility in monetising and distributing content apart from an additional revenue stream to supplement income from advertising.

Prices, which are subject to channel owners, will begin at 99 cents per month. The subscription service, which will be available in 10 countries, will include children, sports and comedy channels. The à la carte model selected by Google allows viewers to choose desired channels to subscribe.

Malik Ducard, director of content partnerships at YouTube, said that the site had “always been about unleashing the world’s creativity . . . this is an important next step in that journey”.

Google will retain about 45 per cent of subscription revenue, while the rest will go to the channel owners.

Ducard also said that participating channels could decide whether to broadcast advertisements in their programming or not. He further said that YouTube is pursuing a different model to the television industry.

Ducard added: “YouTube is not TV. The ability of content creators to engage with their audiences in a two-way, creative way is unique to the platform.” Ducard concluded that the company was not trying to compete with pay TV. “We think the two can coexist nicely.”