YouTube has confirmed the rumors that it would start charging for content, and although to a certain degree we were already paying for the content with advertising, now paying will be much more obvious: YouTube will launch paid subscription channels, starting at $0.99/month.

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It is a serious step forward in Google and YouTube’s strategy to make a much bigger impact in the audiovisual content market. Right now, just a small group of partners allow a monthly subscription to its content, which come with a free 14-day trial. This premium catalog of channels will grow as the weeks pass thanks to an agreement made with more than 30 American producers. Sesame Street and UFC are two popular channels that are currently running paid subscriptions.

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Monthly payments, on which you can get a discount by purchasing it for a year, must be done from a computer, but you can later access all the content from any device connected to the Internet. Undoubtedly, it is an important step for smart TVs, and a problem for TV stations. If YouTube was already an invincible rival, now TV stations have more problems to deal with.

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Many people are saying that, if this is executed well, it could be a useful tool for offering exclusive quality content that is later offered on traditional TV. Because of this, it seems as though the service will compete much more directly with other paid platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, which have a strong hold in the U.S. The advantageous position that YouTube is starting at is an important factor to keep in mind.

YouTube – the website that we all use to watch videos and listen to music for free – has stopped being completely free. This is a moment that we will tell our grandchildren about, starting with “In my day …”

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