Today YouTube officially announced the roll out of paid subscriptions to their videos. This is a BIG StoryDisruptive moment. YouTube has taken a risk on a monetization model they think will be most successful on their site. And this changes the digital distribution of content by creating a monetization model available to any content creator – from studios to grassroot creatives.
For grassroot creatives, now they don’t have to only let passion fuel them as they work to create story. If their material is good and there is a demand, they will not only get “Likes” but they will also get paid for the content they are creating.
For studios, they now have an additional revenue stream from which to get money from the millions of people who no longer have cable and lean solely on digital distribution channels for their entertainment. And what YouTube offers that Amazon or Apple does not offer, is a means to take a story world/IP out for a test drive. Instead of a broadcast based pilot season, studios can push out webseries first, see which ones garner the most attention and interest, THEN blow it out into a cross platform IP. (For an example of this, see The Shadow Gang’s GoBZRK transmedia property now feature film with Sony).
YouTube’s announcement is a big, bold move in the future of business in entertainment and storytelling.
Hopefully, with this subscription model the quality of content will also increase. Again, those content creators who have had to work for little money in order to satisfy their fans desire for more (see League of Steam with their 10k+ fans) will now have a means to make money for their hard work (the American dream!). With more financial support, these creatives can create more content and even increase the production quality of their grassroots content. Overall, I foresee the landscape of content creation becoming more stratified in terms of quality. In other words, the entertainment industry’s “professional” content is even further in direct competition with the audience!
Ooooo (rubbing hands together), I look forward to seeing how this all pans out! No matter what we will will learn a lot from YouTube’s gamble! Thanks YouTube!
Btw, click here to see their list of pilot channels.