YouTube launches pay channels with campy flicks

May 09, 2013 by Ryan Nakashima
In this May 8, 2013 photo, producer Roger Corman poses in his Los Angeles office. Corman's campy B movies, children's shows like "Inspector Gadget," and inspirational monologues by celebrities are among the offerings that will appear on "Corman's Drive-In, requiring a paid monthly subscription on YouTube, coming soon. Although the world's largest video site has rented and sold movies and TV shows from major studios since late 2008, it's the first time it is offering all-you-can watch channels for a monthly fee. Each costs a few dollars a month. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Children's shows like "Sesame Street," inspirational monologues by celebrities and campy movies—these are among the offerings on 30 channels that will soon require a paid monthly subscription on YouTube.

Although the world's largest has rented and sold movies and TV shows from major studios since late 2008, most people watch videos on for free.

It's the first time YouTube is introducing all-you-can-watch channels that require a monthly fee. The least expensive of the channels at will cost 99 cents a month, but the average price is around $2.99.

In the field of paid video content online, YouTube is playing catch-up to services like , and Amazon, all of which have millions of paying customers.

But with a billion monthly visitors from around the globe, the -owned hopes to quickly add subscribers and add to the money it already makes from online advertising.

"This is just the beginning," said Malik Ducard, YouTube's director of content partnerships. The site plans to roll out a way for a broad number of partners to launch pay channels on their own soon.

Roger Corman, a producer and director whose influential cult classics like "Deathrace 2000" and "Piranha" earned him an honorary Oscar in 2009, said he's kept his 400-film library off video streaming sites until now.

In an interview with The Associated Press, he said he turned down an offer from Hulu for about $5,000 to $6,000 per film several years ago but sees promise in the YouTube offering. His channel, "Corman's Drive-in," will cost subscribers $3.99 per month for a rotating selection of 30 movies, refreshed with new interviews and clips from films that are in production. It is set to launch in June.

"I believed for many years that the future of motion picture distribution, particularly for the independents, is on the Internet," said the 87-year-old director. "I think the time is now."

YouTube will keep slightly less than half of the revenue generated by the subscriptions.

Corman's wife and producing partner Julie Corman said they were taken aback at YouTube's potential after a clip of their 2010 movie "Sharktopus" went viral with 11 million views.

If even 1 percent of those viewers signed up for a subscription, it would amount to a healthy revenue stream, she said.

"The numbers are astonishing. We're waiting for the fireworks display," she said.

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YankInOz
2.3 / 5 (3) May 09, 2013
Very underwhelming...
Of course, it is like "another business model" wherein you download a "free" item and end up paying more money than God to actually use the item.
Greed does funny things to people.
So not impressed.
alfie_null
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2013
The site plans to roll out a way for a broad number of partners to launch pay channels on their own soon.

I wish them success in this endeavor. Like the model used for phone apps. A way for individuals and small groups to be entrepreneurial with their creative energy. Potentially a much more attractive alternative to the bundles of unwanted cable channels we are forced to accept from the likes of Time-Warner, Fox, Disney, etc.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (6) May 10, 2013
There are already some channels which are restricted by region. And the number of advertisements on there lately is ridiculous. Now they're going to start charging for certain channels? People will find a way to crack/hack it eventually anyway and watch videos for free again. I doubt that forcing people to pay for content will be all that popular.