Get Ready to Pay 99 Cents to Watch YouTube

To subscribe to channels at least

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Correction Appended Oct. 23, 2013

YouTube is increasing its efforts to generate more revenue with its most popular videos producers. Thousands of YouTube creators will now be able to launch paid channels, which charge a monthly subscription fee of $0.99 or more.

The paid channel initiative began in May as a pilot program with a few dozen accounts, including popular brands like Sesame Street and the Professional Golf Association. Now any video creator who has 10,000 subscribers and has been verified by YouTube will be able to set up a new paid channel and charge a fee for access to their content. Creators can set their own subscription rates, though YouTube has final authority to determine pricing. Every paid channel will offer an initial 14-day free trial.

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A YouTube spokesman confirmed that the revenue split between YouTube and creators for subscription channels is similar to the model used for advertising revenue, with creators keeping the majority of the money. YouTube does not disclose the exact percentage of this advertising split, but it has been widely reported to be 55 percent for creators and 45 percent for YouTube.

The Google-owned video platform has invested heavily to improve the quality of its content as it tries to lure advertisers away from television. The company has spent at least $300 million in the production and marketing of a slate of 100 original channels in the last two years. YouTube also has production studios for creators to use in Los Angeles,  London and Tokyo. A fourth will open in New York in 2014.

YouTube declined to disclose the number of subscribers for any of the existing paid channels, but over the summer some channel operators said user response had been tepid, according to Variety. A YouTube spokesman said these are still very early days for the initiative.

The original version of this story said YouTube creators with 10,000 subscribers could “convert” their channels to paid channels. In fact, these users must create new channels to charge a subscription.