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According to AdAge, YouTube will introduce paid channel subscriptions this year.

Would you pay to watch a YouTube channel?

One person who may be happy about this is possibly Prince since you can never find his videos on YouTube anywhere — but that’s if he can somehow wrangle a profit. As it stands now large media outfits, such as Machinima, Maker Studios, and Fullscreen will be managing the channels. Already, YouTube has talked to small producers about developing about 25 channels that would incur a fee, the first group of which would require users pay between $1 and $5 a month. At present it’s unknown what channels will be subscription-based.

Regardless of what’s rolled out soon in terms of pay-per-view, YouTube also has plans to get a few dollars from viewers for some of their most coveted items including entire libraries of videos, live events, and self-help or financial advice shows.

That’s interesting. How do you feel knowing that you’ll one day have to pay for all those one-off videos that once gave you free advice? Would you do it? How important is YouTube’s content really? We could maybe see paying for a live concert, but a selection of unboxing videos, or make-up tutorials? Uh, no. Not so much. Could all of these fall under paid programming? One day perhaps. Just think about all those gadget comparison videos you watch before making purchases, or old episodes of shows that will never make it back to television!

YouTube’s goal as they’ve defined it is to offer an alternative to television while bringing in revenue — which brings us to ads. Oh, yeah. There will be more ads. Cha-cha-ching!

For those who think this is a sudden move, YouTube would like you to know that they’ve been contemplating subscription channels for a while. Of course they have. You think that gold mine of cat videos would stay free forever? It was only a matter of time.

In response, YouTube says:

“We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models,” the representative said. “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.”

The new paid subscription channels could be rolled out as early as the second quarter of this year.

Image: Flickr