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YouTube's subscription-based channels open new avenues for brands

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YouTube's subscription-based channels open new avenues for brands

Google’s video broadcasting website YouTube launched a pilot programme for a small group of partners early last week, which offers paid channels with subscription fees starting at 99 cents per month. This has been introduced to keep up with the demand for more flexibility in monetising and distributing content.

It may be recalled that YouTube had started building a unique business model, called ‘YouTube partner program’, since 2007. With the introduction of this program, the video broadcasting platform started enabling content creators to earn revenue for their creativity. According to YouTube’s official blog, there are more than 1 million channels generating revenue on YouTube.

YouTube already has on board 30 partners. With this new offer, the video broadcasting website will allow creators to have a business model beyond advertising. Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. Once a user subscribes from a computer, they will be able to watch paid channels on their computer, phone, tablet and TV. The revenue split will be similar to advertising, with 55 per cent going to the creator and 45 per cent to YouTube.

Who gets the benefit here?
While it is obvious that small businesses related to music, movies, education and food will get an opportunity to earn some quick bucks, there are other large scale brands that can use this platform smartly. For instance, a brand that has a royal fan base and wants to engage its subscribers can come up with content that is watchable, clickable and shareable.

Can it be a good deal for the Indian market?
The game moved from text to image and then to video some time back, but digital players are still honing their ability to offer the kind of videos and original content to increase the consumption of online videos. While video search has been described as the future of this media, the year 2013 is expected lead to some consolidation on this front, where the right kind of video content is finding a place in digital platforms in India.

According to latest YouTube analytics by Socialbakers, Sony Music India Channel, Edewcate Kids, Shree Films, Nokia India and Audi India are the top five fastest growing channels. This is a clearly an indicator that today a platform like YouTube has a mix of brand categories using it as integral part of their communication plans. It also looks that with the increase in demand of video content, subscribers will not shy away from paying for it.

It will be essential for brands to thereby focus on creating tailored video communications if they are to use online media for creating multiplier effect.

It will be interesting to see how initiatives from video broadcasting platforms such YouTube change the game for video content and the business generated from it.

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