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Tech Bytes - YouTube Viewer Fees on the Horizon

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, May 17th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

YouTube Viewer Fees on the Horizon

While sitting at school, at work or even at home, it’s not an uncommon scenario for your co-workers, friends, or family to ecstatically gather around the computer to watch the exciting trending video that you discovered earlier that day. Whether you’re looking for a laugh, wanting to watch your favorite television scenes, or viewing a news report for a second time, YouTube has provided videos since 2005, when it primarily hosted only homemade videos. Since then however, the content has exploded in variety.

In 2007 YouTube created what is known as the YouTube Partner Program, which has allowed for more than one million creators from more than 30 countries to earn money from their provided videos, mainly through advertisements. Now, six years after the YouTube Partner Program was launched, popularity of videos has grown exponentially. In fact, in 2011 the website had one trillion views, which calculates to roughly 140 views per person for everyone on the planet.

For at least the past year, content creators have been pushing for more flexibility and more options to raise revenues from their videos. YouTube has answered back to the persistent requests by launching a pilot program that will give paid channels the option to impose subscription fees to viewers. Fees are said to begin at $0.99 per month. As of Thursday, May 9, only a small group of partners were set up with the fee-charging system. YouTube reported that in the coming weeks many more qualifying partners will have the subscription option added to their channels. Those who subscribe to a channel do have a 14 day window to withdraw their subscription if they are not satisfied.

Charging fees is venturing into unfamiliar waters for YouTube, as this new option for content creators is only a pilot program. It’s also important to realize that not all videos will require paying a subscription fee to view, but don’t be surprised if the fee notification appears on your screens.

As if paying the monthly cable or satellite bill wasn’t enough, many are unsure whether this will potentially lower YouTube’s viewer traffic. However, there are many dedicated fans who are inseparable from their YouTube videos.

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