Starting today, any YouTube creators who currently offer free channels in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, or Spain with more than 10,000 subscribers is allowed to take advantage of YouTube’s paid channels feature. To clarify: The creators can’t turn any existing free channels onto a paid subscription model; they can only create new channels that they’ll charge viewers to access from the start.
YouTube currently hosts 71 paid channels. Subscriptions begin at $0.99 a month, but can run higher–The Asylum, of Sharknado fame, charges $2.99 a month; full episodes of “Sesame Street” run $3.99 a month. At that rate, it would be fairly easy to rack up a YouTube bill that costs more than a Netflix subscription. It’ll be interesting to see how many YouTube channels will take advantage of the paid channels option and, more importantly, how many subscribers will be willing to pay up.