Netflix, Hulu and even cable companies, beware: Internet giant Google
has big plans for its Web video powerhouse YouTube.
Google reportedly is planning a subscription service that would charge viewers $2 or more per month for high-quality YouTube channels to raise money from sources other than advertising.
"Google clearly has Netflix in their sights," said Todd Van Hoosear of Fresh Ground, a Cambridge-based social media consulting firm. "That's their game: More professional-quality content on YouTube so that they can compete with all of these other players."
The move also demonstrates that ads aren't generating the amount of revenue Google had hoped for to accomplish that, Van Hoosear said.
"What Google is realizing is that people are willing to pay for high-quality content," he said. "As a consumer, this doesn't bother me, especially if it means I have fewer ads to watch."
The videos the average person makes are still going to be free on YouTube, said David Gerzof Richard, founder of BIGfish Communications and professor of social media and marketing at Emerson College. But viewers would have the option of paying to watch a show or movie someone has invested time and money to make. And the person who owns that content would get a share of the revenue, he said.
"I see this being the start of more well-curated, well-produced content," Gerzof Richard said. "At the end of the day, the consumer wins because now you have competing online destinations offering premium content. And you don't have to go through your cable company to access it."
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