When Web 2.0 ideas popped onto the scene in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s people weren’t quite sure what to make of the ideas. It took some time, but these ideas eventually came to dominate the development of the web, and the way that users interact online with businesses and each other.
The whole idea of user generated content got a huge boost from platforms like blogging websites, and especially YouTube. YouTube gave the average internet user the ability to reach millions of people at once. YouTube has even created full time jobs for people who simply create content that millions find entertaining. It’s like having your own personal television station.
Recently, YouTube unveiled its paid subscription and premium channels service. This pilot program is a test for Google to see whether users will pay for content over a free and open model of YouTube. It’s an interesting experiment given the original nature of YouTube being a free platform and thriving on user content, and surviving based on advertising dollars.
As Web 2.0 platforms like YouTube become flooded with users and content, are paid subscriptions the way to go for guaranteed access to high quality content? That seems to be the question that Google is trying to answer. If it is, YouTube might become a bit more like NetFlix and other OnDemand services that are very popular among consumers.
Will those who have become used to a completely free YouTube actually pay? There’s a chance that, depending on the content and the channel, this could be a very popular move by Google and YouTube. It doesn’t appear that other popular user based platforms could adopt a similar model. No one can imagine having to pay for content on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
YouTube might be the only platform to be uniquely compatible with the idea of premium content options. Regardless of how it turns out, Google and YouTube are smart to start this off with a limited experiment. If it goes well, expect to see more premium content popping up on YouTube.