YouTube May Expand Into TV Show Biz

    December 1, 2009

It’s no secret that YouTube’s trying to catch up to Hulu in terms of offering premium content; the site’s administrators often make a big deal out of movie and TV show additions.  What is under wraps – or at least hasn’t been publicized in press releases and blog posts – is that YouTube might also be interested in charging for access.

YouTube Logo

According to Peter Kafka, "[I]t envisions something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable."

And although negotiations between YouTube and content owners are preliminary, according to Kafka’s sources, "both sides seem optimistic, since models for such deals already exist."

Plus, since Hulu is also likely to place some content behind a pay wall, YouTube wouldn’t be putting itself at too much of a disadvantage.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that this experiment would be successful.  YouTube became so popular by virtue of being free, and the introduction of fees could just turn more people onto less-than-legal alternatives like the Pirate Bay.  Still, Kafka said that YouTube will probably be "one of several outlets trying to get consumers to pay for TV on the Web in 2010."

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