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YouTube subscription channels off to slow start – but is that a problem?

22/07/2013 11:57

'We are not setting the world on fire right now,' says National Geographic, but it's early days for YouTube's pay-TV ambitions.
Some of the first partners for YouTube's "pilot programme" for subscription-based channels, which was launched in May, have said that their paid channels are off to a slow start.
A total of 29 channels went live as part of the pilot, with partners including Sesame Street, UFC, National Geographic, PGA and Magnolia Pictures charging $0.99 or more a month for paid channels that would sit alongside their free videos on YouTube.
Variety has followed up, and found several hinting that the uptake has been sluggish, even if none of them have risked the wrath of YouTube by revealing their actual figures.
"We had hoped to set the world on fire. We are not setting the world on fire right now," said National Geographic's senior vice president of global strategy.
"The subscription activity we have seen so far has not been particularly high," adds Miguel Penella, chief executive of RLJ Entertainment, which has two paid channels in the pilot. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban, whose Guys Night In channel is also part of the pilot, tells Variety it is "working OK. Not amazing."
Cue speculation about whether YouTube subscriptions having flopped; why Google struggles to sell content rather than ads around content; and whether original channels on YouTube have the bright, disruptive future that has been predicted so often in recent years.

Source: https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/19/youtube-subscription-channels-slow-start