YouTube Maybe Kind Of Considering Setting Fees For Some Of Its Content

One of YouTube’s top bosses has announced that he really doesn’t have anything concrete to announce, but that the company might be checking out selling subscriptions to users for access to some online videos. Those fees could allow for some cable channels to be available to consumers without buying into bundles sold by cable companies.

Salar Kamangar, Google senior vice president of YouTube and video, told reporters at the Reuters Media and Technology Summit yesterday that cable channels with smaller audiences will in the future migrate to the Web and become available on an “a la carte” basis.”

Those channels receive little or no affiliate fees from cable distributors and would be a good fit for YouTube. YouTube is also mulling over making some of its original video programs available for a fee.

“We don’t have anything to announce now. It is something that’s really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren’t on YouTube today, so we’re taking very seriously and we’re thinking about it very carefully,” said Kamangar.

This is the kind of thing that is likely going to terrify cable companies, who are in the midst of being investigated by the Department of Justice over whether they’ve been purposely hampering the spread of online video.

But please, YouTube — just don’t make me pay to watch pandas sneezing. I couldn’t handle that.

YouTube chief mulls paid subscription [Reuters]

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  1. KyBash says:

    This would be great for some of the channels that want to get into streaming but can’t justify the start-up costs and don’t want to offend the cable companies who are their primary source of income.

    Assuming, of course, that once you’ve paid to watch something, you don’t also have to endure the commercials!

    • Black Knight Rebel says:

      If the commercials are just those little pop-ups that they currently use, I can deal with a 2 or 3 of those in a half hour video.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        when you post a youtube video and monetize it you can choose between the pop ups and in stream ads. i never put the in stream ads on mine – no one wants to watch 30 seconds of ads before 17 seconds of kitten playing.
        but the popups are just one choice

        • Murph1908 says:

          Agreed. There are many videos that I click to watch, but close before getting to them when I see there’s a 30 second ad before it. Sometimes, the video isn’t worth it. Especially, like you said, when the video is going to be shorter than the ad.

  2. PunditGuy says:

    Which cable networks fit this definition? If it’s the likes of AMC, FX, USA — then hell yeah. Hulu Plus falls down on a lot of that programming, where it’s either completely unavailable (Justified) or they don’t maintain seasons of shows (Suits).

    If we’re talking about networks like Current TV, OWN or EWTN, then no thank you.

    • rugman11 says:

      No, it’s not going to be the “good” networks. Profitable networks have no incentive to do this since they’re already making money. It’s going to be for poor networks to increase their visibility.

  3. Laura Northrup says:

    So no youtube.com/gameofthrones, is what they’re saying.

  4. dolemite says:

    Eh…the problem with all of this is “some”. You can get “some” content from Netflix. You can get “some” from Hulu. You can get “some” from Amazon. You can get “some” from Youtube. Everything is piecemeal. No one wants to log into 20 accounts to watch 30 channels or shows on 3 different machines.

    • PunditGuy says:

      I’ll do that, as long as Comcast ends up losing out and I still get the entertainment that I want. The inconvenience is totally worth it to me.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I heartily second your statement!

    • CrazyEyed says:

      I’d do it if it was cheaper than cable, but if I have to log in to half a dozen separate services to get my programming AND it costs me more than Cable, then forget about it.

    • nicless says:

      With Hulu and Netflix on my Xbox, it auto signs me in. Actually, so does Youtube. So I don’t mind at all, having ditched cable it’s amazing.

  5. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Don’t make me pay to watch mah funny cat videos, dammit. Or post them.

    I have trouble with YouTube sometimes; I’m sure it’s just my stupid DSL, but unless I downgrade the video quality, it stutters, starts, stops, buffers…..I’m just not into paying for it unless it’s going to work better. I don’t have that problem with Netflix or Crackle unless there is an obvious dip in my service.

    • ferozadh says:

      The pauses and constant buffering on certain videos are definitely not caused by your connection. I tend to get them more often on older videos. It’s likely a weird artifact of the caching mechanism YouTube uses, some kind of peer to peer thing where the more popular a video is the faster it loads. *shrug*

    • MikeVx says:

      In my experience, video streaming just plain doesn’t work over 10 minutes, and can’t be counted on to complete at at any length reliably. When traffic is heavy and I am trying to play a Youtube video, I used to hit pause and wait for the video to buffer to completion, if it was going to. That no longer works, Youtube has recently built-in some kind of limiter that allows for a fixed-size buffer space and will not exceed it. If you pause, the buffer fills, and then further buffering stops, the gray buffer line does not resume until you start playing. This has broken the advice I gave to people with slower connections, as pausing until the video buffered fully was how those people could watch those videos that would finish at all, and is what I would previously have suggested you try. Since YT videos will slow down if you look at your router funny, this buffer limit also leads to stops and judders when you hit the end of the buffer space. Alternatively you have to pause before you catch up to the buffer and let it get ahead again.

      In general, if I want to be sure I can watch something, I have to download it. For a while there, I thought things were improving on the streaming front, but it must have been either my imagination or a statistical fluke.

      For the benefit of those who haven’t heard me rant on this before: Video streaming doesn’t work worth a darn. I have this problem everywhere, with all operating systems. When I visit people who want to stream something for me, they end up apologizing, claiming that it never fails like that normally.

      So, either my presence disrupts streaming video, or, more likely, video streaming is a great steaming pile and those who praise it have selective memories when not forced to confront the facts by the presence of others.

      As to paying for streaming of any sort, yeah, right. It has to work before it is worth paying for.

  6. 2ktj says:

    But I’m already paying exactly what I feel youTube is worth!

  7. maxamus2 says:

    BFT. Bout Fucking Time. I’m all for anything that “goes around” the cable companies.

  8. duncanblackthorne says:

    *shrug* I find most of YouTube to be extremely boring and tedious.
    That being said, I dumped cable TV about 4 months ago, and haven’t regretted the decision, but there are a couple shows that I can’t get now and wouldn’t mind paying a small fee ($0.99?) to see them legally.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i suggest amazon. i ditched directv after realizing i was paying about $14 per episode for the few things i couldn’t get online. i now pay $1.99 per episode 24 hours after air on amazon

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    There are two things I’m going to miss when I cut cable and just keep internet/phone with Comcast: local broadcast channels, that many folks can get OTA, and the “antenna TV and MeTV” channels that show old stuff, like Dick Van Dyke, Lost In Space, stuff like that.

    Maybe channels like that would be a good fit for You Tube.

  10. T-Bone says:

    As long as the shows are available on Xbox YouTube and mobile YouTube I’d be fine with it. I tried to show my wife a Red vs Blue video but it was only available on my desktop I the other room, not my iPhone, iPad, or Xbox that were in the room with me.

    • Rexy on a rampage says:

      That’s on the uploader to make their video available for mobile versions.

      • T-Bone says:

        I don’t see what the distinction is. Why would an uploader intentionally limit their audience like that. There are millions of mobile devices and xboxes. That’s millions of potential viewers that are getting blocked. Why would YouTube even come up with a system that enables that?

        • drjayphd says:

          I think it might have something to do with Youtube’s content management. I forget where I saw it, but one video’s uploader said that Youtube wouldn’t let them make it available on mobile devices because of copyright reasons. (pretty sure it was a full album of some sort)

  11. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    they do already have paid movie rentals right? i know i’ve read about that, but never actually watched any.
    i don’t go to youtube for premium content personally. tutorials, funny videos, old tv shows that never got released on dvd or in syndication that someone had a bad recording of and is sharing online
    and to post kitten videos for the rescue because we’ve found kittens with videos on their petfinder profile [embedded from youtube] make them much more adoptable.
    but since they already have some paid movie content, i don’t see this as that much of a stretch.
    now if google would just make an official youtube channel for the roku

  12. bmath18 says:

    My question in all of this excitement for cutting the cord and streaming internet shows is when the cable companies just raise the cost of internet/dsl to offset the loss of people ditching their tv packages. It is only a matter of time based on supply/demand.

  13. framitz says:

    This is quite simple. I will NEVER pay for any content from YouTube, there are plenty of other sources.

  14. Kuri says:

    So long as we only see big cable companies doing this.

    Sorry, but we don’t need a bunch of wannabes charging for their content just because they can. I can see a lot of stuck up brats charging you to watch them sing horribly. There are a LOT of horrible artists out there, but most of the mare too stuck up to know it, this would just validate their arrogance.

  15. AngryK9 says:

    I hope this isn’t yet another case of a popular online service selling out to corporate interests and profit-mongers.

  16. Telekinesis123 says:

    This is actually something I would like, I would actually start watching “TV” again.