YouTube launched a pilot program today that brings subscription services to the world's most popular video hosting site. According to Google, only a "small group of partners" will offer paid channels on YouTube during the pilot phase.
These partners can charge subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month for channel access. Some of the partners that participate in the pilot are UFC Select, TNA Wrestling, National Geographic Kids and Pets.tv.
Videos that are only accessible by subscribers are displayed with a Dollar sign next to them, and any attempt to play them will display subscription information at the top right corner. A preview of the video will play automatically and stop after two minutes in. The subscribe button is also displayed underneath the video.
Videos are only displayed to you in first place if you are connecting from a country that the paid channel is available in.
Users who connect from a country the paid channel is available in can browse all videos offered by it to get an impression of what it has to offer before they subscribe. While they do get a 14-day trial, they may still look around to make sure that it offers sufficient contents that justify the price.
Here are the details that came to light in the announcement:
I have to admit that I'm disappointed by the launch. It is a pilot and I get that things may change along the line but country restrictions right away are a bad sign in my opinion. YouTube's global exposure makes it ideal in my opinion to break away from the crusted local-only offers that never made sense to me in first place (I would happily pay for Netflix if it were available in my country, but it is not).
I had hopes that TV channels and content producers would make available their videos to a global audience, and I would have taken them up on the offer if only they would allow me to. That dream shatters once again and while Google may change things after the pilot, it is likely that country-restrictions will remain in place. I'm left with channels from my country that I'm not interested in, and interesting channels that I would subscribe to from other countries that I cannot subscribe to.
If you are in the US, congratulations and all the best with that service. If you get the dreaded "this paid channel is unavailable in your country" notification, welcome to the club.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.