YouTube has launched a pilot program for a small group of partners who will sell paid subscriptions to their videos, with fees ranging from $0.99 to $7.99 per month.
YouTube's goal is to create a prominent new marketplace for programming on the Internet.
The early participants include Sesame Workshop –which streams full episodes of the children's show to paying subscribers; Ultimate Fighting Championship –which streams martial arts fights– and The Young Turks –a progressive talk show.
The plan gives the creators of videos a new way to profit from their popularity, while YouTube gets a new source of revenue. For media start ups, it can be an alternative way to gain audience, instead of cable and television systems.
Several companies specializing in how-to videos are among the initial partners, including iAmplify, a producer of instructional workout videos. Other areas are children's programming, movies and documentaries, reruns of television shows from outside the United States.
YouTube said that all the paid channels would have 14-day free trials and many would offer discounted yearly rates for subscribers. Viewers will pay with Google Wallet, the same system Google's app store uses. Subscriber revenue split has not been disclosed yet. YouTube now keeps 45 percent of the revenue from the ads and gives producers the rest.