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The Financial Times reports that the long-rumored paid subscription model is coming to YouTube as early as this week. The strategy will help YouTube compete not only with other online outlets like Netflix and Hulu but also with major networks like CBS. However, it's also a sea change in the site's approach to content, since YouTube has always been a destination for endless amounts of free user-generated content. Don't worry, though. Most of it will still be free — for now anyways.

According to the FT's Matthew Garrahan and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, the new paid subscription platform is in the final stages of development and "will apply to as many as 50 YouTube channels." The paid subscriptions will likely affect the same batch of professional quality channels that YouTube's already investing heavily in promoting. With YouTube having spent over $200 million promoting this strategy in the past 18 months, these include channels hosted by major media companies, everyone from The Onion to WWE. Now it's time for the users to start shelling out some cash for premium content

But is the world really ready to start paying for YouTube? After all, it's pretty tough to take a product that's been free for nearly a decade and suddenly slap a price tag on it. However, YouTube's parent company Google has been floating the idea for months if not years now and surely reacting to the criticism. "We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models," a spokesman said in January. "The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that."

So it doesn't matter if you're ready to pay or not. The content creators are ready to make more  money, and YouTube (and Google) are ready to charge you. Good luck!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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