YouTube has always been a free platform, and they aren’t going to change that any time soon. We’ve seen a few experiments by Google to further monetize the site such as Paid Channels, but none of these have really been successful. The latest attempt is to get people to pay a fee ($5 /mo) which would remove ads from the site. They haven’t specified and additional features, but I personally think they’ll need to do better than that to get people to pay up. Though, the fee would not just go to YouTube; a portion would go to content creators that the paying viewer watches. The split is expected to be calculated based on watch time, so if the viewer spends exactly half the time watching two different creators, each creator would get 50% of the cut after YouTube’s.
On one hand, I’m really excited about this new feature because it could make it easier for creators to make a living off their videos. But on the other hand, I don’t anyone is going to sign up for this if an ad-free site is the only incentive. Most people already use adblock, and if they don’t already, they certainly will when they find out their $5/mo feature can be replaced for free with browser extension. I think YouTube is going to need to introduce more features to make it worth while to pay the monthly fee, and I’m sure they know that tool. I can’t speculate on what these features will be, but I can hope. We see sites like Twitch that have a pay model where viewers can pay $5/mo to subscribe to each specific streamer, and that streamer gets a 50% cut (the site gets the other half). For this, the viewer gets a special badge recognizing their contribution, and exclusive and unique subscriber-only emoticons (created by the streamer) that they can use across the entire site. This creates huge incentive, since it allows the viewer to belong to an exclusive club, as well as promote their streamer even in other streams via the emoticons.
I went into detail on this topic in my latest video, which you can watch below. I’d love to hear what you guys think, and particularly about what features you think YouTube would need to add to make it worth while.