YouTube is launching a pilot program with a “small group of partners” for paid channel subscriptions on the popular video-streaming site. The subscriptions start at $0.99 per month with a free two-week trial, and discounted yearly rates on some channels.
Early partners include Sesame Street, which will offer full episodes of the popular children’s program, and UFC, which will broadcast classic fights.
Paid YouTube content will be made available for computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs, with “more devices” coming, according to YouTube. That likely means gaming consoles. Subscriptions can only be processed through computers at this time however, and not mobile devices. The service supports multiple screens per subscription, so users won’t need to pay twice to access content on both their computer and smartphone, for example.
YouTube claims this is an extension of the partner program it launched in 2007, which allowed content creators to earn money for their videos. According to YouTube, there are currently more than 1 million channels earning revenue on the site.
A list of the paid channels are available here, with notable partners including HDNet, the PGA, TNA Wrestling, and the Woodworkers Guild of America. At launch, there are 53 pilot channels, and YouTube plans to roll out more in the coming months a “a self-service feature for qualifying partners.”
The move confirms reports earlier this week that YouTube was looking into offering a subscription service.