It was a small story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal “Google’s YouTube in Talks to Let Video Creators Charge Viewers”. People familiar with YouTube and its need for finding new revenue streams will not be surprised at all. Take a few moments to think about the impact of a for-pay channel on YouTube. The cost would of course have be drastically less than what a cable network might charge on a per subscriber basis. More importantly the a la carte method of purchasing what a viewer wants to see when a viewer wants to see it is long overdue.
Is this the beginning of the end of cable? Not even close. But I hope the result would be that the cable industry finally has to adapt to what’s taking place in the marketplace which to this point has not occurred. Competition almost always results in a better result for the users/customers. The fact that in many areas you have one choice for a cable provider does not make it better for the consumer.
My guess is that people under 30 will be unlikely to ever subscribe to cable television in general as it is irrelevant to them. It’s already the case that bundling internet service with phone and cable may be the only way to bring in younger ‘subscribers’. The digital natives already consume video quite differently than do the digital immigrants (i.e. people like me). YouTube’s creating of pay ‘channels’ will enable underfunded networks to continue on, or be established in the first place. More and varied choices sound good to me.
What will also be interesting is how fast the ‘cost’ of these new for-pay YouTube channels increase and where will be the point at which people will complain and reject that outlet for the yet undiscovered alternative – whatever that might be.
Are you ready to give up your cable subscription? Or have you done so already?