Google will launch a paid subscription service for YouTube channels in order to increase per-video revenues, according to a report. The search giant will allegedly allow a number of channels to charge as little as $1.99 per month for access to video content, and could be officially announced at some point this week.
The report in the Financial Times claims the plans have been worked on for the last few months, and when it is introduced, could be applied to 50 YouTube channels. The extra financing is said by the report's source to help videographers create TV shows and films with a higher budget than current revenues from advertising will allow. While Google has provided funds to individual channels to help create content, it is not clear if any currently-airing channels will be part of the initial subscription channel group, or if a separate contingent of channels will be created specifically for it.
Last week, Google chairman Eric Schmidt declared "The future is already here" while speaking about the popularity of YouTube compared to regular television. YouTube managed to break the 1 billion unique user per month barrier in March, equating to one in two Internet users visiting YouTube over the period. In 2012, YouTube generated $1.3 billion in revenues from advertising, while some analysts suggest that revenues could reach $15 billion within a few years, equaling that of Viacom or CBS.