×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube Kills Paid Channels, Expands $4.99 per Month Sponsorship Model

YouTube is getting rid of one of its first paid content models: The Google-owned video site announced Tuesday that it is discontinuing its paid channels initiative, effectively killing the option to sell the content of individual channels to paying subscribers. Instead, YouTube is expanding its sponsorship model, making it available to all YouTube Gaming creators and testing it with some creators within the main YouTube app.

YouTube first introduced paid channels in 2013 as its very first move into the subscription business. Initially launched with a few dozen content partners including the Sesame Workshop, NatGeo Kids and DHX Media, paid channels allowed creators to set their own price for subscriber-only channels on the service.

However, there were signs early on that YouTube’s audience didn’t care much for these paid channels, and the initiative has since been overshadowed by YouTube’s other monetization options, including the site-wide YouTube Red subscription service. At the last count, less than 1% of creators were making use of paid channels, according to YouTube.

One of the ways YouTube is now looking to replace paid channels is a patronage model. YouTube began testing sponsorships with select YouTube Gaming creators in late 2015, and is now making this additional revenue stream available to all of YouTube Gaming. Users can sponsor a creator for $4.99 a month, and in return get custom chat badges and custom emoji as well as access to a sponsor-only chat. Creators can even give them additional perks through third-party integrations.

Popular on Variety

YouTube product manager Barbara Macdonald said in a blog post Tuesday that sponsorships have been a huge boon for some of the creators who were part of the test phase: “Rocket Beans earned 1,500 sponsors in their first day. And ONE_shot_GURL’s monthly celebratory wall of sponsors is getting so full, it’s running out of room.”

If all goes well, these kinds of sponsorships may one day also be available to all of YouTube’s creators. The video service is starting to test it with a small group of creators within the main YouTube app now, also offering them the chance to sell sponsorships for $4.99 a month.

In addition to these monthly sponsorships, YouTube will also continue to offer creators the ability to sell so-called Super Chats. These are essentially paid messages in a live chat, similar to virtual gifts users can buy on Twitch, YouNow or Musical.ly. Compared to that, sponsorships are more closely comparable to the patronage model established by Patreon, which coincidentally announced a new $60 million round of funding Tuesday.

More Digital

  • Tana MongeauStreamy Awards, Arrivals, The Beverly

    Streamy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 9th annual Streamy Awards – honoring the best from YouTube and online video – were held Friday night in Beverly Hills. Tana Mongeau was named Creator of the Year by fans while “Good Mythical Morning” won Show of the Year. David Dobrik picked up multiple Streamys, including Best Director and Ensemble Cast (“Vlog Squad”). [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

  • Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump Reportedly Set to Speak at CES 2020

    Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an adviser to the president, is scheduled to appear on a panel at CES 2020 in January, according to a published report. Ivanka Trump will appear on a panel set for Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Las Vegas confab with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of [...]

  • Rooster Teeth - Joe Clary, Sean

    WarnerMedia's Rooster Teeth Names Co-Heads of Animation to Replace Gray Haddock

    Rooster Teeth’s Joe Clary and Sean Hinz are the new co-heads of its animation studio, replacing replace Gray Haddock, who recently left the company after he was moved out of his role as head of Rooster Teeth Animation earlier this year. The WarnerMedia-owned company, whose animated series include “gen:Lock,” “RWBY” and “Red vs. Blue,” promoted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content