Google on Thursday announced the launch of a pilot program that will allow a select group of YouTube partners to charge users a subscription fee to access their content. Companies like Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channels, while UFC plans to give users access to classic fights. Premium content can be accessed for free with a 14-day trial, after which a subscription will be required. Google noted that fees will begin at $0.99 per month, though many providers will offer discounted yearly rates. After subscribing to a channel, users can access it from a computer, phone, tablet or a smart TV. Paid channels will be available today for select partners and will be available as a self-service feature for “qualifying partners” in the coming weeks.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has declared that Internet video has crushed traditional television. In a meeting with advertisers on Wednesday, the former chief executive said that “the future is now” for YouTube. Google’s popular video sharing website recently passed a billion unique monthly visitors, however Schmidt’s eyes are focused on the future. He noted that once YouTube expands to more third world countries, the number of visitors will be much larger. More →
Good news for Daily Show fans: You’ll still be able to watch clips of Jon Stewart on YouTube. The Los Angeles Times reports that Viacom has lost a major copyright suit against YouTube after “a federal judge in New York on Thursday ruled that YouTube had not violated Viacom’s copyright even though users of the popular online site are allowed to post unauthorized video clips from some of Viacom’s most popular shows.” U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton dismissed Viacom’s lawsuit and said that a safe-harbor provision within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects YouTube from copyright infringement charges. In response to the ruling, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said that “this is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information.”
Would you pay a monthly subscription fee to watch Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style parodies? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some content on YouTube that you’d be willing to pay for at some point. The Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube executives are batting around the idea of letting YouTube content creators start their own subscription-based channels to give them additional revenue streams besides advertising dollars. Robert Kyncl, a YouTube vice president, acknowledged to the Journal that it will be tough for content providers to get users to “take out a credit card” before watching their videos but added that there will be “a lot of experimentation” and that “over time, a lot of people will figure it out.” The Journal says that YouTube isn’t even close to making a formal announcement about subscription channels, however, and that the idea is still in its preliminary stages.
Users of Google’s (GOOG) various free services were again reminded to watch their backs recently as the company announced it would shutter the world’s most popular RSS reader, Google Reader. While any Google service could theoretically be shuttered at any time, fans of homemade videos can likely rest easy for the time being, because it has become increasingly obvious that YouTube is one of the better investments Google made in recent years: the company announced late Wednesday that YouTube has now surpassed 1 billion monthly users. The News comes just 10 months after YouTube topped 800 million monthly viewers last May.
Recent reports have suggested that Google (GOOG) is interested in launching a music streaming service to compete with Pandora (P) and Spotify. According to Fortune, the company is looking to launch the service through its YouTube brand later this year. The service also is expected to have some overlap with new features that are rumored to arrive in the Google Play Store. Both services are said to incorporate subscription fees that will unlock additional features, such as ad-free YouTube streaming. A Google spokesperson confirmed that “there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we’re looking at that.” Earlier reports claimed that paid subscription options for individual YouTube channels are scheduled to roll out this spring.
Google (GOOG) is said to be preparing paid subscription options for individual channels on YouTube, according to a report from AdAge. In its latest attempt to compete with traditional television, the company will reportedly allow a small group of producers to create channels that users will only be able to view if they pay a monthly fee. The first paid channels are said to cost somewhere between $1 and $5 each month. Google is also interested in offering content on an episodic basis and special pay-per-view events. Sources speaking to AdAge suggest that Google will introduce paid channels as early as the second quarter of this year.
Although every app developer dreams of creating the next big mobile app, it seems that established applications are becoming more firmly entrenched at the top of the food chain. Per Reuters, year-end totals from the Apple (AAPL) App Store and Google (GOOG) Play show that stalwarts such as YouTube, Angry Birds, Instagram and Facebook (FB) “continued to be among the most downloaded apps of the year,” which shouldn’t be too surprising considering that all four are now staples of the mobile computing experience. There were a few newcomers that soared up the charts for iOS and Android, however, including the make-your-own-art game Draw Something, the Paper sketch pad app for the iPad and the Songza music discovery app. Apps have become a more popular way to spend time, as analytics firm Flurry recently found that American consumers now spend 127 minutes per day using mobile apps, up from just 94 minutes per day one year ago.
Apple’s (AAPL) plans to limit Google’s (GOOG) reach onto its devices took a major hit recently when more than 10 million users downloaded the new iOS version of Google Maps in just two days. Google kept up its push onto iOS devices on Monday by releasing the new YouTube Capture iOS application that’s designed to let users quickly record and share videos filmed with their iPhones. According to Google, “YouTube Capture is ready to record as soon as you open it” and will continue uploading videos onto YouTube even after users minimize the app. Once videos are uploaded, the app lets users quickly share them on Facebook (FB), Twitter or Google+. A promotional video for the app is posted below. More →
Google (GOOG) on Thursday announced the launch of a YouTube app for Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii U gaming console. The app doesn’t let you watch videos with the GamePad, however it does allow users to search for content and also displays video details. Amazon (AMZN) earlier this week also announced the availability of its Instant Video streaming app for Wii U, giving users access to more than 140,000 movies and TV episodes to purchase or rent and more than 30,000 movies and TV episodes to stream for Prime customers. In addition to searching for content and displaying information, Amazon’s app also allows users to watch videos on the GamePad’s 6.2-inch display. The YouTube and Amazon Instant Video apps are both available immediately for free.
Google (GOOG) updated its YouTube app for Android on Tuesday to give its underwhelming Google TV devices a little love. The new YouTube app now lets you stream videos directly to any Google TV device with a single click and act as a remote to pause, scroll or skip to the next video with your smartphone or tablet. The new app also lets you peruse YouTube’s myriad of content from a mobile device (or several ones, if you like) while a video is playing on the TV. It’s another attempt at providing a “second screen” experience, much like Xbox SmartGlass is doing for the Xbox 360.
Google (GOOG) is readying another round of funding for its YouTube video sharing website, according to AdAge. The Internet giant last year invested $100 million into dozens of new channels to develop original content that would compete with traditional television. This time around, however, Google will only be providing a second round of funding for 30% to 40% of its existing 160 content partners. The more successful channels that receive additional funding will be notified in the next few weeks. More →
YouTube completely crashed on Thursday, right before Google’s (GOOG) scheduled call for its third-quarter earnings. Although some outlets have since reported that the video site is back up and running, we’re still experiencing difficulty watching any videos and can only access the main homepage at the moment.
UPDATE: We are now able to access YouTube videos again.