There is no shortage of ways for YouTube to monetize its site right now. It has sponsored videos, ad-supported content, and pay-per-click overlay ads. But that might not be enough, as the head of the viral video site has suggested there might be premium content on its way to YouTube, effectively ending the great legacy of 100% no-barrier, free-to-watch videos that made the site what it is today.
YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar was at the D:Dive Into Media conference and was quoted as saying it is possible that the site might start allowing copyright holders to offer channels that require users to pay a monthly fee. "We’re a media platform want to be biz model than media partners demand," he said.
Kamangar rolled off some statistics about the video industry as a whole, including online and offline content. He said 20% of revenue comes from the actual sale or rental of a specific title, while 40% comes from advertising and another 40% comes from subscription fees. Clearly YouTube is only engaging in one part of that pie right now, but even so it's not exactly hurting for revenue. The thought of punching in a credit card to watch a video on YouTube seems almost un-American. It would be interesting to see if Google could pull it off.