The last ten years have seen YouTube grow to be a video content giant and change the way in which many people consume video as a medium. YouTube is set to shake things up again with the confirmation of a paid subscription option for users.
We speculated on this YouTube Subscription option back in Feb 2015. We also reviewed the possible impact that this would have on the various different parties who use and rely on YouTube.
Updated YouTube Terms
More detail on the upcoming move have come to light in recent weeks. Mashable amongst many other sites have reported on the update to the terms and conditions for YouTube Partners. With many prominent content creators being directly contacted.
The YouTube Partner programme was initially set up to offer content creators the option of monetising their video content with ads and a suite of additional features. Many of these features have been rolled out as standard.
The changes to the terms and conditions deal with the distribution of income from ads placed in video content. YouTube takes around 45% of all revenue earned from ads in videos and will continue to do so. The new subscription model set to be implemented this year will potentially dilute income with few ads being played.
The changes to the terms for partners includes outlining a cut of 55% of the subscription fees of subscribed users for content creators based on views and length of content watched.
YouTube Subscription Level Content
It remains to be seen whether all partners or content creators will be able to take advantage of the subscription options right a way. Bloomberg speculates that it might only be for what is considered to be ‘premium content’. The definition of this is vague – if a party operates a YouTube Channel full-time and generates an income from a regular audience – is their content premium regardless on subject matter?
It could mean a slow roll out for YouTube ‘professionals’ – those channels in networks, before being rolled out on mass. This would give Google and YouTube time to fine tune the service.
As reported by The Know the Subscription option may also come with a series of premium features including a download and watch offline option. This seems very likely and is very similar to the premium option for offline listening from music service Spotify.
YouTube Subscription Pricing
There is also speculation as to whether the Subscription option will only be available in particular markets. The Verge like many sites and news outlets in reporting a monthly subscription price of $10. No equivalent UK or international pricing option is yet to appear.
Just in time
It would seem that YouTube’s plan for the subscription option is just in time. Many content providers have already split their content delivery to other premium platforms. Vessel, which recently cleared it’s beta programme and launched has already attracted many YouTube Content Creators.
YouTube has been left as a video advertising platform directing fans to the premium platform.
With this premium option if my stem the exit by high profile creators by providing a more solid income that content creators need in order to regularly produce content.
Promotional Content Impact
If you rely on using YouTube pre-roll ads this may come as a mixed blessing. While the potential audience may be shrinking the possibility of unskippable ads for those who don’t take up the offer of the subscription remains a possibility. We cover that possibility before.
If your original content is more on the promotional end of the content spectrum this could still have an impact on your business.
While the final features of this Subscription model have yet to be released the addition of pay-walling content may be an option. This would mean that up-loaders to YouTube could select whether those users without a subscription could watch the content at all.
This would allow many users to expand the type of content they upload from promotional pieces and samples to high value premium content. Trainers, Educators, Professional Speakers for example would all have the option to easily expand their product offering on-line and generate extra income through subscription fees from YouTube.