YouTube just announced that it has launched its first set of paid channels.  Starting today, YouTube is launching a pilot program for a small group of partners that will offer paid channels on YouTube with subscription fees starting at $0.99 per month.  In an effort to give people an idea of what they can expect from a paid channel, every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. It’s important to note that free channels will still exist and that it is up to the content creator as to whether or not they want to charge.

Programmers such as Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches.  Additionally, UFC fans will be able to see classic fights, including a full version of their first event from UFC’s new channel.  YouTube is planning to roll this out more broadly over the next few weeks to qualifying partners, but in the mean time, if you’re interested in see what’s available you can check here for a list of pilot channels.

According to YouTube, once you subscribe from a computer, you’ll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices (I assume that means smartphones and tablets).

Meanwhile, I’m more interested to see how well this works (if at all). YouTube superstar, Philip DeFranco also appears to be somewhat skeptical of the new paid channels:

One last thing of note is that in the post YouTube also mentioned an interesting stat: more than 1 million channels are currently being monetized on the site, which is great news for YouTube and content creators.

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