24
Feb
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Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal suggested that Google is in talks with record labels to start its own Spotify-like music streaming service. In the same article, the newsgroup also reported that El Goog is looking to do something similar with YouTube, and launch pay-to-view channels, though no specific details past that were given. Now, some code found in the most recent YouTube app update basically confirms the service is on its way:

<string name="paid_channel_subscribe_message">You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.</string>

<string name="paid_channel_unsubscribe_message">You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.</string>

And there it is, in just a few simple words: "You can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer." While it's still very unclear exactly what this means, it does confirm that the previous rumors are legit. At this point, any content we could suggest that these pay-to-view channels may include would be wild speculation, so we'll just let you imagine the possibilities on your own.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Athishay

    It could be PPV Events or maybe even plain old television!

    Would be really cool if you can subscribe to a paid channel that is like your TV channels, except in 3DEE.

    • RajivSK

      subscribing to TV channels would be somewhat of a horseless carriage kinda thing. Subscribing to individual shows makes way more sense.

      • Justin Winker

        I agree, though I can see some networks broadcasting their entire lineup on one channel moreso than just by series or shows.

        • RajivSK

          That would, at least in the beginning, be far more likely. It will take time, and competition from smaller production companies who might embrace this way of distributing their content. One way or another, TV will go the way of the dinosaur and steps like this are what will set it in motion. Exciting news imo.

      • Freak4Dell

        I would much rather subscribe to channels than individual TV shows. The channels would likely end up being cheaper than having to pay for each show, especially if you watch as many shows as I do. Plus, discovering new shows would be hard. Subscribing to a channel would still let you discover new shows that they do.

        • Brian Koppe

          Agreed. I wrote a longer comment about this elsewhere, but pricing is really the key. If mainstream producers, like HBO, get on board with this, I hope they will resist the temptation to set expensive subscription prices. With Netflix costing $10/month, I'd hope HBO, et al, wouldn't try charging the same for their channel subscriptions. I have to believe that with the mass reach of the internet, the sweet spot for pricing can be much lower than conventional wisdom seems to indicate.

      • http://www.drusepth.net Andrew Brown

        Can't you already subscribe to shows (for a season fee and get each episode as it comes out) through Google Play?

        • RajivSK

          I wouldn't know. For some reason Google doesn't seem to be interested in my euro's. No music, no shows, no nexi. Even apps are a bit annoying because you can only pay for them with a credit card, which are really uncommon here in the Netherlands.

          • http://www.drusepth.net Andrew Brown

            Unfortunately a lot of the issues of content being not available outside of the US is the fault of the RIAA/MPAA and out of Google's hands. :(

            But yes, clicked a random show on Play: The Walking Dead. Subscribing to the season is $27.99 which is about the same (functionality and price) as just buying the season DVD. Each individual episode is $1.99 to buy.

        • bahrta sai

          You can, but a lot of shows I watch aren't there.

      • Brian Koppe

        While I'm generally inclined to agree that subscriptions should be as a la carte as possible, I actually prefer the idea of subscribing to full channels rather than specific shows after giving it some brief thought.

        Part of why television sucks so much these days is because each show lives or dies based in large part on the amount of money it brings in. This leads to lowest-common-denominator pandering and good, award-winning shows getting cancelled because they don't have a large enough audience to justify their budget.

        HBO, on the other hand, has more freedom to stick with a show that might cost more than it brings in based on the success of other shows that bring in much more than they cost. If Youtube subscriptions include multiple shows on a single channel, that could allow for the same scenario and give more creative freedom to producers. On the other hand, if subscriptions are specific to each show, I can see the potential for a lot of great content ending prematurely simply because it didn't find a large enough audience.

        • RajivSK

          I'm afraid you're actually right. On the other hand, the costs of producing anything will drop with advancing technology and TV (shows) might follow the same path music has taken. Where in the Michael Jackson era indie musicians didn't stand a chance, talented people can now make a living recording their own stuff and just putting it out there for all the world to enjoy (and buy) without the backing off major publishers. Time will tell I guess.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Yay my post on The Verge made it as news on wait... you do know one of your writers posted this comment on this website? and i based that post off of that comment? HAHA =)

  • Adam Miah

    Fuck this shit

    • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

      Why? I see this as a way for really cool high quality content on YouTube. It's not going to be pay for cat videos; it's going to be pay for high quality shows that are not normally available on YouTube.

      • Freak4Dell

        I think I would pay to have all cat videos removed from my view on YouTube. They should make a channel like that.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I love the idea, as long as it's used right. As an extreme example (I don't think it'll happen just yet), imagine a la carte channels, like HBO without having to pay for the whole cable subscription. True cable cutters' dream. YouTube paid channels could be the way to get this movement going.

      • Freak4Dell

        A la carte would be awesome, and that would be the only way I'd give up my cable TV subscription.

        However, the problem I see is making it cost effective. One of the reasons cable bundles come with so many channels is because certain channels cost more to carry than others, so the bundle helps subsidize some of the cost and make it overall cheaper for everyone. Allowing people to pick their own channels means that high-demand channels would cost more, and you might end up paying just as much as you were with cable.

        With the way things are right now, I have no interest in cutting my cable TV. The reason is that I would only save $30ish a month, and I lose a lot of benefits, like live news and sports. That's not worth it to me. At the same time, there are a ton of stupid channels that I never watch. If I could sign up for just the ones I do watch, that'd be great, but the question is, will it save me money? Let's say there's 10 channels that I watch. Each channel would have to cost me less than $3 a month to make it worth cutting my cable. Even if they only cost $2.50, I'm only saving $5, which to me is worth paying just for those times when I'm extremely bored and find something to watch on a channel I normally don't watch. So, the channels would have to be closer to like $2 or $1.50 to actually make me consider cutting my cable. The 10 channels that I mentioned earlier is a fairly low number, too. I haven't counted, but it's likely that I watch more than just 10 channels.

        Perhaps having no ads or at least the ability to skip them would make it worth more money, but how much are we willing to pay for that convenience? Ads are the major revenue source for these companies, so I think it's pretty safe to say they won't just go and cut out ads for a measly $3 a month.

        I just don't know if I see a la carte TV channel subscriptions working. It's a great idea in theory, but the money is complicated. But, if anyone can do it in a profitable and yet cheap manner, it's Google, so I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z75MHPYWJOTUNK667QTLDKMMBA Ab

          shutup bitch

        • Brian Koppe

          Good points. I commented elsewhere that I prefer the idea of subscribing to channels rather than specific shows for the same reasons. I hadn't thought about the fact that reasoning extends to the cable bundle as a whole.

        • bahrta sai

          I agree.It's a nice concept but the greed that is a problem with cable will continue here & contribute. To too-high prices for too little valuable content. Plus the obvious issue: the shows (networks) I already watch aren't available in this model anyway.

    • Pedro Belo

      Why would someone not like this idea?
      This is all conjecture since we still don't know how this will play out, but imagine being able to subscribe to just the shows you want to see, not having tons of channels, ads and schedules that cable companies want to shove your way, this all sounds great to me.

      For example, currently download a couple of shows online since they're not available in my country at all, I get it, it's "illegal", but if eventually (would take years of course, industry move slowwwwwwww) I could subscribe to a channel for my TV Shows, there would be no need to download stuff, deal with low quality or even being "hostage" to a cable companies schedule. It seems like the start of a great idea to me.

  • RajivSK

    I hardly ever watch TV. Something like this could make it possible to only subscribe to the shows I like. Would be great to be able to watch the shows I like, when I like and not having to pay for all the stuff I don't want. Almost as good as pirating ( from a user experience viewpoint ).

    • GazaIan

      I have to agree with that last bit, pirating TV shows and movies just feels way better. to feel less bad, I still pay for a cable package (that I do watch occasionally, to see what new shit they've come up with).

  • Niggo372

    Hope this adds premium content rather than making us pay for videos we used to be getting for free (+ad supported).

    • Drew M

      I think the vast majority of existing content will make more money under the advertising model than under a paid subscription. I also think people will recognize that. YouTube needs more premium content...and I hope this provides that. I could be wrong though.

  • jonathan3579

    I'm curious if current channels will be eligible to become "paid" because if so, well, they'd at least lose my subscription. I'm not tempted to pay to watch anything on YouTube.

    • FrillArtist

      You'd be surprised when your favorite people start putting up content.

  • Josh Phillips

    If there is a god, they will make an HBO subscription available on YouTube and skip the bastard cable companies...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      That would be amazing.

    • malcolmest

      I'd love to see that too but I bet they'd offer it on HBO GO before they did it on YouTube.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582104066 Adria Stembridge

      This says nothing about what kind of channels will be marked PPV. What I think it means is that youtube account holders will be able to charge access for their vids. Don't think it has a thing to do with traditional network channels.

    • justsayingfacts

      Lord of Light! Come to us in our darkness. We offer you these false gods. Take them and cast your light upon us. For the night is dark and full of terrors

  • GazaIan

    I really hope it's aimed toward big companies, like News Corp *cringe*, NBC or some huge TV networks. It would really suck if YouTube became an almost freemium service, where you can only get the good shit if you pay the premium.

    • dfsd9f

      I feel almost certain that if that happened, and the content was in demand, that people would begin to pirate it.

  • Rob Mahon

    Wonder how the youtube app on Apple will handle this. Will Apple want the 30% cut from all revenue, or will it not be enabled to avoid all this? If so, then it means that iphone users will be getting less choices again.

    • Yesart

      Or if you go through the web site, you could watch it. I used to have the Youtube App on my Ipad, but I threw it away when I discoverd that I can't watch live stream on it.

    • RyanB1

      If you're only allowed to subscribe from a desktop, wouldn't that bypass Apple completely?

    • ds8f9s d89f

      Use m.youtube.com to bypass Apple. Just sign in and you're good.

    • bahrta sai

      Good. Maybe it will push more people to android. Apple has ridden coat-tails too long anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/Shamwoosh S H A M E E R

    Just use TPB to get movies and shows

  • Nick Schiwy

    I would say that this indicates it will be coming within the next update cycle of the YouTube app but we heard about the Google Wallet Card a long time ago and I'm pretty sure there have been updates since then and still no Wallet Card...

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=744390704 Andrew McInally

    Or they're making it harder for mobile users to subscribe to user channels.

  • http://twitter.com/Linkums Ryan

    I thought there already were pay to view channels.

  • GreyLlama

    I hope it's just stuff like HBO and Animal Planet segments, I really hope it doesn't affect YouTubers ALREADY making money.

  • Hopefull

    It might be for movies on YouTube and they'll set up an AMC or a NBC channel where those shows will air along with cable and you pay to view the shows online.

  • John H.

    I live overseas in China where youtube is blocked unless you use your VPN. The local alternative, Youku, has a great pay-per-view feature that charges 5 RMB (80 cents) to your mobile phone account for new releases, many with 1080 hi res, and streaming flawlessly on my 2megabit ADSL. Would love to have a feature like that when I go back home.

  • didibus

    I'd rather they keep youtube closer to it's original content philosophy. I don't want it to turn into a Netflix. If this is a way for content creators to make youtube channels and charge money for views on a per-video basis or a per-channel basis, then I welcome that change. If it's just a way to pay for current TV channels, well, meh.

    • Brian Koppe

      Why can't it be a mix of both? So long as the You remains an important part of it, I don't see why they can't also provide more options for the Tube ;)

      • didibus

        Well, I would say bloat. And also, overshadowing. It'll be easy for the search to return mainstream channels and the ads promoting already established channels that would overshadow the original content, I guess it all depends how it's implemented. No one knows that they can rent movies on youtube and have a selection of free old movies, since they hid the feature so deep, so I guess we will see.

  • bahrta sai
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