YouTube to end paid channels service

YouTube logo Image copyright Getty Images

YouTube has announced the end of paid channels, which were launched in 2013 as one of the site's first attempts at charging for content.

The facility let people pay a monthly fee to access individual YouTube channels from providers such as National Geographic and Sesame Street.

However, the service was not popular with viewers and will end in December.

"It never achieved popularity with creators or users," Google admitted in a blog post.

In December, videomakers who currently host their videos on a paid subscription-only channel will have the option of hiding them or making them available free.

The closure does not affect YouTube Red, the website's own subscription service that offers exclusive programmes and removes advertisements from YouTube. It is currently available only in the United States.

Image copyright YouTube
Image caption Individual paid movie and concert rentals will also still be offered on YouTube.

To help videomakers earn money, YouTube said it would open up its sponsorship facility to more content creators.

That facility lets viewers set up voluntary monthly payments of $4.99 (£3.70) to their favourite YouTube stars, in exchange for perks such as customised emojis.

"They haven't seen the take-up they wanted," said Joseph Evans, an analyst at Enders.

"It's somewhat surprising when you look at what the other giants are doing. Amazon is pushing a modular 'subscribe to one channel at a time' service, having started with its all-you-can-eat package.

"With the sort of content people expect on YouTube, the sponsorship model does make more sense.

"But YouTubers may be wary of giving Google control of their video distribution and sponsorship money."

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