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back to article YouTube's hilarious cat videos could soon cost you $5 a month

YouTube is reportedly "experimenting" with the idea of charging people to watch some of the videos on its website. Google, which operates the vast library of funny cat footage, has asked 25 or so producers to put forward applications to create channels of videos that would cost viewers $1 to $5 a month to access. This is …

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Re: It's not entirely unreasonable

Publishers of those videos already have a way to monetize the vids, as long as they're a youtube partner then they earn a commission from the ads.

But I guess some would like to be able to charge $x per month or similar. I'd imagine they're the same people who's views will go from hundreds of thousands to just a handful.

Apart from a few special cases, like online workouts and that kinda thing, the whole model would be impractical. You're not likely to signup to a bunch of different youtubers and pay them all $x a month. So more likely you'd pay one fee to Google who would then give the youtubers 0.5% of that. So just more money into Googles pocket.

There are alternatives to Youtube with better features, nicer layouts etc. People use Youtube because it's free and fast. Take away the free bit and people move on.

Some things earn money for Google, some things cost them. Overall it all adds to locking people into the Google ecosystem and earns big money in the long run.

If they really want to help video creators then they could increase the amount of commission they pay them for ad clicks because right now its insanely low.

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Re: It's not entirely unreasonable

So long as it's optional. I know a few of the people I'm subsribed to actively refuse to monetize their vids. Can't say their reasons exactly, one of them simply looks like he doesn't need the money, but still it should be their choice (I imagine a lot of vids going pay to view, and then flipping back to monetized when they don't make as much)

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@Stephen 2 Re: If they really want to help video creators

"If they really want to help video creators then they could increase the amount of commission they pay them for ad clicks because right now its insanely low."

They don't want to help anyone but themselves. I do not know what percentage the video maker's commission represents, but the amount of income generated by each view is vanishingly small. I would expect that even if the video creators got all the revenue generated by each view, the income would be negligible except for perhaps a very very few people who could probably be counted on one hand.

Even if Google were to keep all the income for itself, YouTube is still bleeding money, has never turned a profit, and no one would be surprised if it never turns a profit.

(Incidentally, the articles you might have read lately about how much PSY's Gangnam Style have earned have nothing to do with reality. http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-real-gangnam-style-was-google-off-a-couple-magnitudes-on-earnings-call/ )

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Re: It's not entirely unreasonable

"Given how much I use YouTube for various things, I wouldn't object to some of the very high hit videos being part of a premium channel, as long as the creators of the videos got a slice as well."

This is kind of an odd comment. Possibly I am drawing a mistaken inference, but you seem to be saying that you would not mind if YouTube charged for videos that you yourself do not watch - possibly so that those paid channels will subsidize your usage.

If Google thinks they can monetize their videos via extraction of cash from the viewer (as opposed to just feeding their sleazy advertising business) they will find out what everyone else has found out: People are not going to pay for anything if there is any way to avoid it and they are going to gravitate, en masse, to what they can get for free, legally or illegally. Paid subscriptions will be the death of any YouTube channel that tries it.

Google wants to stop losing money on YouTube. It might not be possible.

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Re: @Stephen 2 If they really want to help video creators

I don't think the link you posted is the definitive answer as to how much youtube earns.

I think the billionaires and investment funds who invested in youtube would be very surprised if it doesn't ever return a profit, if it isn't already.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Stephen 2 If they really want to help video creators

Youtube used to be really great, when it was actually Youtube, and they made as I recall, a real profit from it.

Then Google bought it, and it's been an idiotic ride into dumbfuckness and "Google Add Land" ever since.

Seriously, without add blocking, I would not even touch it, basically because the never ending "targetted behavioural advertising" based upon what you click on in the search results, the scanning of your emails, and things you look at on Youtube etc....

It's like "Uhhhhh fuck off."

For the last few months, it's been the Google cum Yahoo - "Give us your REAL first and last name - so we can add them to your channel."

To which I decline, as I do every time, as I am happy to be a nobody watching the odd vid, instead of having a "face book style friends list", - and I bailed them up over this, as in how many times to I have to be asked, and how many times do I have to say NO, before these fucking idiots get it.

That fucking corporate moron bullshit mentality - came with Google Buzz - "Yeah lets just show the whole world + dog, who all your email contacts are." - without asking you and without your consent.

I mean just how fucking stupid do you have to be to do THAT?

And now on Youtube, these fucking idiots are pulling the same automated stupidity.....

"Oh you mean saying NO once wasn't enough?"

I mean Youtube is good, compared to the mindless crap on TV, bought to use by mindless and stupid Australian executives, as they all start to go insolvent, because the consumers are walking....

But it's only good, as a research medium or as a entertainment service, if you have FAST video streaming...

On slow connections, it's low definition and save for off line viewing.

Speaking of which, for those of us who have SLOW connections, why in the fuck have the IDIOTS in Google / Youtube, never set the speed, so that if one has SLOW connections or limited data, that if people only want a 240kb quality of data connection / video quality - that the lowest default connection is always 360, and people always have to RESWITCH the video down to a 240kbs speed.....

And the idiots who run Youtube / Google - don't "get it"..

"Yeah, it appears that YouTube has taken it on themselves to decide that "low quality" is 360p, and offered no provision to set that default to 240p. And again the "product team" forces users to find and install third party plugins and user scripts just to do what YouTube *should* do."

"Youtube used to have an option that users can automatically play the highest quality videos, but it seems like they did permanently remove that feature due to bandwidth problems. It is indeed pain in the ass to change the video quality for every youtube video and the re-buffer the whole file. This plugin is so easy to use and does its job. Thank you so much for making this! 5/5"

SmartVideo For YouTube

YouTube video quality manager

Etc.

Stop YouTube Autoplay.

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Headmaster

Re: @Stephen 2 If they really want to help video creators

I think you mean "Google Ad Land" ... with one d. The only add Google does, is when they add their profits from the wall o' ads. ;)

That said, IIRC YouTube was actually losing money before the Google acquisition. The dudes who sold it to Google were really happy to sell it because the model wouldn't have succeeded without ads...

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Happy

Re: It's not entirely unreasonable - Turtle

That was strange - I just agreed with you. I don't think that has happened before!

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Tomorrows El Reg Headline.... Today

"YouTube has lost it's number one spot for Netizens who wish to watch uploaded video content.....

Views are increasingly turning to other streaming video providers after YouTube decided to switch to a subscription based model.

One former regular YouTube visitor commented 'Why would I pay for something, when I can get the same thing for free elsewhere'".

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Re: Tomorrows El Reg Headline.... Today

Right. And then we might see if Google is prepared to be flexible in its attitude to copyright . . .

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Re: Tomorrows El Reg Headline.... Today

Plenty of video hosts that ignore copyright take down requests.

Not that we'll ever see them once Google de-lists them.

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Re: Tomorrows El Reg Headline.... Today

Anyone can create a streaming video service. It takes a Google to make money out of it.

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@Francis Boyle

"Anyone can create a streaming video service. Not even Google can make money out of it by showing ads and page views. Just like no one can make a living out of ads and page views."

Basically, the whole "internet economy" is completely irrational and can not survive in the long run.

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The beginning of the end?

Intrusive advertising, subscription-only (except for utterly useless crap) and pro-government censorship. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the internet as the corporate giants fight to exploit every penny from users while staying on the good side of our political leaders?

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Facepalm

Re: The beginning of the end?

"Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the internet as the corporate giants fight to exploit every penny from users while staying on the good side of our political leaders?"

Oh god, not this old chestnut again. Every time some company does something the Freetards don't like we get the same old refrain.

No , we're not seeing the end of the internet, we're seeing a single company wanting to make some more profit. End. If it bothers you so much there's nothing stopping you setting up your own video site. But you might find it costs you money to run it so unless your parents have deep pockets you'll have to either find a sponser, use ads or charge.

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FAIL

why would we pay for something that we currently get for free?

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Pint

Because we're hooked

It's like drugs.

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Indeed it is the bit they don't seem to get - people only watch the shit because it is free.

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Re: Because we're hooked

'It's like drugs.'

No way man - NO WAY - I can quit any time. I can. I just don't want to alright? Those kittens are just so damn cute. You just don't understand man. If God didn't want us to watch kittens why did he create the internet? Why are you asking all these questions? Are you a narc? Where's my pizza? I ordered it ages ago. I'll just check online and see if it's been dispatched... Oh look- Kittens. Nice. What were we talking about again?

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@Mark 65: The Competition

I'd have to think that YouTube's competition, which I suppose is primarily free and paid television along with other streaming services, would certainly be happy to see YouTube become a paid service

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Meh

YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

YouTube would need to have a much better system of separating the crap from the 'premium'. Vevo only came about after it became obvious that official music videos were being swamped in the searches on YouTube by terrible karaoke covers. I wouldn't pay for YouTube as it is because there is so little content that is of any quality. Plus $1 - $5 PM is way too high, if you wanted 10 top quality channels then it would cost near to or more than a Sky subscription and while I hate Sky their offering is still better than a few video clips...

The free-to-subscription transition would only work if the content was worth paying for. Most of YouTube is not.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

I wouldn't pay for YouTube as it is because there is so little content that is of any quality

Oh, I wouldn't say that. It's become a veritable archive for forgotten/unreleased TV shows. Everything from Horizon documentaries to 80s cartoons.

There are also a number of talking heads on YouTube that are actually worth listening to. Separate the camwhores from the skilled reviewers and you can find people like TotalBiscuit doing pretty good stuff.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

The problem is that as soon as Google charge to see the gems, then they'll be taken down under an avalanche of removal requests. The only reason they're still up there is that they haven't been found by their real owners yet. There's no way they're going to let some YouTube handle profit from their content even though it's 30-40 years old.

The content might be expropriated or removed and replaced with the real owner's version, but that still doesn't get round that fact that relatively few people will pay out for a YouTube subscription each month.

The BBC and so on would probably make it available on iPlayer, probably for a fee if it's seen out of Britain, cutting Google out the loop because it doesn't really need YouTube to help it find an audience. If I had to choose between a YouTube subscription and a BBC subscription, I'd go for the BBC.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

If I had to choose between a YouTube subscription and a BBC subscription, I would go for YouTube as a matter of principle, as unlike the BBC, Google don't constantly send thugs and threatograms to my house.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

They are hardly going to be charging for access for infringing material.

There are actually some very good pieces of original content on Youtube these days, and I'm not talking cat videos. Though I have to admit I'm a bit pressed to think of any I'd actually pay for personally, but it may work for some people.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

I must admit, YouTube is my go-to place for tutorials when I have to learn a new piece of software; but I don't think I'd bother if I had to pay.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

80s cartoons is the only reason I actually make any use of Youtube.

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Re: YouTube would need to offer a better way to find content

"I must admit, YouTube is my go-to place for tutorials when I have to learn a new piece of software; but I don't think I'd bother if I had to pay."

This. Very important point.

Possibly they need to start charging the uploaders. After all, some of the uploaders are businesses.On the other hand, it could prove difficult to catch businesses (generally small ones, most likely) pretending to be people: it could be difficult to separate a video done by a business from a video done by an enthusiast. Example: any piece of audio gear from, let's say, Roland, has both videos on the official Roland channel, and any number of videos done by reviewers and users, having no connection with Roland.

But that is direction in which YouTube might need to go.

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Paris Hilton

Oh the irony

They are basically copying what X-Tube does then arnt they!

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Anonymous Coward

Easily subverted...

... buy just buying a cat.

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Re: Easily subverted...

Hmm... feed a cat for $1-5 a month? I think your cat is going to be doing a lot of hunting!

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Happy

No, it won't...

...it'll just move to someone more accommodating (as in more likely to feed it).

Cats don't have owners - they just have free accommodation and food. If either becomes sub-standard, they just find someone else.

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Anonymous Coward

Why buy a cat?

Just get a free one from the rescue centre.

Better ROI and better for the cat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why buy a cat?

Whilst I'm in full agreement with the idea of rescuing a cat rather than buying a bred one, they aren't actually free, you're looking at £50 to 100 depending on shelter to take your cat. (but it will come neutered, chipped and vaccinated)

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Re: Easily subverted...

I think your cat is going to be doing a lot of hunting!

Not a problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Creator

On elreg a while back there was a good article about Youtube and content, Google eventually have to start creating content instead of being a place to pirate it (as described by Google themselves) or copy skim news providers.

Dealing with the storage must be a nightmare, very large files that can't be compressed or deduped and very high bandwidth requirements.

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Meh

Sounds reasonable

I currently have subscriptions to Netflix, NowTV, and Sky Sports TV on iPad. The article suggests that only certain content providers will be chargable. If my subscription gets me all those providers for $5/month, that seems fair to me if it motivates the providers to add more content. If I have to pay $5 for Fox, another $5 for HBO etc, then it won't work.

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I'd pay, if...

I use YouTube a lot to watch music videos, clips from shows, etc. I'd tolerate a small monthly fee if (and it's a big if) there's no advertising and there's no big brother tracking.

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Re: I'd pay, if...

In your dreams motherfucker.......

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Re: I'd pay, if...

No tracking, you have realised this is google?? I mean if anyone is going to track you, with or without consent you are already google's bitch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd pay, if...

Almost every single website while you are accessing information in their domain is tracking you.

Every site that adds content from their domain to a web page - Google, FaceBook, Amazon and countless others track you across the websites you visit.

To Stop tracking use Do Not Track, Adblock and Ghostery, clear Cookies, turn off the omnibox or equivalent feature and don't use a search engine apart from ones that don'y log access.

You have to realise though that very few companies are going to use PPC if they can't see any results from it, websites aren't going to exist without advertising and the Internet would have to become a semi-subscription model to work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd pay, if...

Yet it was going along happily until all the idiots decided to join and big business realised it could make money from milking these fools.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

Google TV failed, so it looks like they're trying to create a Google TV by the back door - take something that everyone has access to, particularly commonly via set top boxes and smart TVs, and put premium content on for cost. This is the one thing that Google are really missing in terms of advertising potential is TV, or rather the living room.

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Re: Hmm...

I think it's way too early to talk about Google TV failing. I suspect that smart TV services will become mainstream by being standard in TVs (as is already happening - any non-low-end TV you buy today will be "smart" in some way), so the question for Google TV is whether it can be adopted by manufacturers. E.g., LG started introducing Google-based TVs in the US, and I believe plans to expand that this year.

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JDX
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Read the article

This is not about suddenly having to pay for access. It's about allowing people to charge for access to their content IF THEY WISH. So all the people who put stuff up for free can do so, but people who want to use YouTube as an independent way to self-publish content can charge for their work.

Anyone wanting to charge will have to differentiate from the free alternatives.

I wonder though if this is actually an attempt to barge in on Netflix as much as anything else... let established companies charge to view their stuff directly in YT.

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Re: Read the article

As soon as I saw this article I took a punt that for every one person who understood that Google might charge for SOME content, nine people would read that Google will charge for ALL content.

Those nine are allowed to vote, breed and drive cars.

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Unhappy

Re: Read the article

Isn't the remaining one? What do we get?

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