Google-owned YouTube has launched its first pay channels, partnering with several producers and distributors to put content behind a paywall from US$0.99 per month.
Subscribers will have access to the numerous premium digital channels that launch around the world. Content producers and distributors such as DHX Media, The Jim Henson Company and National Geographic Kids have partnered with YouTube on a revenue-sharing basis, details of which have not been disclosed.
YouTube has been preparing to roll out subscriptions for some of its on-site channels since the beginning of the year as part its premium content drive.
On the kids side, DHX will host three pay channels – DHX Kids, DHX Junior and DHX Retro – in multiple languages in 10 territories worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, the UK and the US. The channels include content such as Strawberry Shortcake, Mona the Vampire, Sonic the Hedgehog, Inspector Gadget and Care Bears.
Michael Hirsh, executive chariman of DHX, told C21 the ad-free SVoD content will appeal to parents willing to pay US$2.99 per month. “Parents will be prepared to pay for that. It’s for parents who are choosing to live in the streaming world rather than going to cable and satellite,” Hirsh said. DHX CEO Michael Donovan added: “These channels represent another way in which the internet is enabling us to monetise our library of children’s programming.”
Jim Henson Family TV is another pay channel on the platform, featuring ad-free episodes of Henson shows including Sid the Science Kid and Fraggle Rock for US$2.99 per month. For a dollar less, the company is offering the channel in Spanish.
“YouTube is once again redefining how, when and where we enjoy our favourite shows,” said Richard Goldsmith, executive VP of global distribution at The Jim Henson Company. “With the launch of Jim Henson Family TV, audiences can watch our hit shows again and again and introduce their favorite Henson titles to their children in a convenient and affordable way.”
National Geographic Kids has also launched a paid YouTube channel aimed at families. Available for US$3.99 a month, it will offer longform and shortform video aimed at kids between the ages of 6-12.
Other pay channels launched on the site include Cars.TV, Pets.TV, Baby First Plus, ‘best of British’ net Acorn TV, Treehouse Direct and UFC Select. The full list of the 53 pay channels launched on on YouTube can be found here.
YouTube began its 100 premium channels initiative in the US in 2011 with a reported US$100m investment, before introducing the scheme to Europe last October.
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