I love YouTube. I spend far, far too much of my time clicking my way deeper and deeper into an internet video vortex that I can never seem to escape. And part of the reason I do this is because it’s free. But if YouTube has their way, it might not be so free soon!

Right now, YouTube generates its revenue – both for itself and its partners – via video ads placed before the video and pop-up ads at the bottom of the videos. This allows users like you and me to watch videos and subscribe to the channels we like for free and I’d argue that it’s this very fact that makes the site so popular. But starting as soon as this week, Google could unveil paid subscriptions for up to 50 channels! [via Financial Times]

Right now, it looks like the subscriptions will be about $1.99 per month for each channel and the money is supposed to allow for TV shows and films to be made. While YouTube will be unveiling the first round of paid channels later this week, partners will also be allowed to switch over to the paid format.

YouTube started off back in 2005 as a place for random user videos with fairly low production quality, but over the past few years production quality has increased exponentially, with aspiring film makers and musicians putting up professional quality films and music videos. And obviously, this increase in quality must also be matched by an increase in production costs, both for equipment and actors.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this idea. That being said, I’ve come to the realization that the Internet cannot stay free forever. This brief period of free content we’ve enjoyed is already on its way out and this is just another sign of that. The revenue generated from online ads has long been shown to be inferior to that which is generated by print ads and this makes the ad funded content model unsustainable for any prolonged period of time. That being said, much like people have long since figured out ways around other subscription services and paywalls, I’m sure someone will figure out a way around this soon enough!

What do you think about this, Lovelies? Are you a fan of the idea? I think I’ll just hope that my favourite YouTubers don’t sign on to this too quickly and enjoy the free content while I can!

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