- Forrester Councils
- Councils Overview
- log in
Posted by James McQuivey on May 10, 2013
YouTube finally announced this week that it would allow channels to charge monthly fees to access content on YouTube. Some have predicted that YouTube’s subscription model would undercut its ad model in an echo of the infamous pay-wall problem that has bedeviled online newspapers as they shifted from ad-supported to paid. Others have suggested that this shows that YouTube is up against an advertising wall of its own making — advertisers will only pay so much to advertise against this amateur and semi-pro content (and to be fair, I am in this camp even though I don’t think this fact is dire). And still others gleefully wait to watch as YouTube learns how hard it is to get people to pay for things online.
In fact, all three of these things are minor asides in YouTube’s decision-making, as I see it. Instead of reacting to these and other constraints, YouTube is proacting on imminent opportunity. YouTube is basically making a grab for more of everything that matters:
All of this ultimately leads to the one “more” that matters most — more minutes of your time. If, by getting people to pay for even a fraction of what they watch on YouTube, the company convinces us that the content it delivers is more important than we realized (funny thing about paying for something; you feel you should use it), then it wins. It does so by getting us to watch even 5 more minutes a day, which is 5 minutes that come from somewhere else in our lives, whether it’s Cut the Rope, HBO, or quality family time. YouTube doesn't care where it comes from; it just wants more of it. And the flexible subscription model, pushed by each of its content partners at their own discretion, is precisely the way to reach for it.