Would you pay these amounts for a channel of content, music or otherwise? Especially on a network synonymous with free?
Let’s see: as expected, YouTube has just launched its first slate of paid channels, with pricing averaging around $2.99 per month, per channel. Then again, this pricing is all over the place, with low-ballers charging 99-cents per month, and others demanding as much as $6.99.
In total, there are 53 channels now courting for cash, with very limited music content (for now). This resembles the upper hundred-something channels on a traditional cable menu, with even greater niches in many cases. ‘Rap Battle Network,’ for example, is a hyper-focused music channel, with others including Spanish-language HombrePix and FemiPix, PGA Digital Golf Network, Recipe.TV, JusticeCentral.tv, and Baby First PLUS.
The full spread of channels is here.
And, unlike your friendly cable provider, you can definitely cherry-pick these channels, with some bundling also available. Rap Battle Network, for example, can only be purchased alone for $2.99 a month (or $24.99 a year). The SmartTV bundle, on the other hand, lumps 7 channels for $9.99 a month, and could be a preview of further bundling approaches ahead.
And why the distinctly non-uniform pricing? This could easily be dismissed as just another scattershot, unfocused Google launch, with content owners setting prices in a chaotic mix. Or, an intentionally wide spread designed to collect the most usability data.
All of which brings us to YouTube Music, the working title for an expected jab into subscription-based music content. At this point, YouTube hasn’t disclosed any pricing plans (or broader plans, for that matter) on YouTube Music. But the success or failure of this experiment will undoubtedly inform things to come.