The Top 10 Paid Subscription Channels on YouTube

The Top 10 Paid Subscription Channels on YouTube
By Amanda Walgrove
  • Earlier this month, YouTube introduced its paid subscription service, offering a new selection of channels that viewers must pay to view. The pilot program includes 54 paid subscription channels, with participation from big name companies like National Geographic, Magnolia Pictures, and UFC.

    While some will charge for live content rather than on-demand programming, all channels include 14-day free trials, following up with subscription fees that start from $0.99 a month and may include discounted yearly rates.

    With this new online pay model that extends outside of ad revenue and YouTube’s partner program, Google is positioning its video streaming service to compete with other pay-per-view platforms, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. But will viewers who are used to free content be willing to shell out some dollars for these videos?

    While YouTube will continue adding new channels to its paid subscription service, we’re taking a look at 10 channels that are really catching our attention.

  • Sports programming is responsible for bringing in massive viewership and advertisers on television. UFC is hoping that this enthusiasm can transfer over to the online space, offering event replays, classic fights, and full episodes of UFC favorites such as “UFC Unleashed,” “The Best of Pride Fighting Championships” and the reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” Perhaps more providers of sports content will look to have a similar YouTube hub in the future.

    Related sports channels: PRIMEZONE SportsTNA Wrestling Plus

  • A YouTube destination for kids and family entertainment, brought to you by the company responsible for The Muppets? Sure! Jim Henson TV features full episodes of hit shows like “The Science Kid,” “Fraggle Rock,” and “Pajanimals.” The channel also offers themed playlists, music videos and parenting tips. A partner channel offers similar content in Spanish.

    Related family and kids channels: DHX Junior TV USA, DHX Kids TV USA, DHX Retro TV USA, Official Franklin, Treehouse DirectBaby First PLUS

  • The Young Turks has already carved out a space as the world’s largest online news, politics, and entertainment show, hosted by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian. Now, TYT Plus offers behind the scenes footage, personal stories, bloopers and more exclusive content. This is our first look at an established YouTube channel that branches out to use the subscription service to offer viewers surplus cotent. Other channels may use this method in the future to provide for a new way to engage their audiences and bring in some more revenue.

  • National Geographic already has a massively popular YouTube channel. So, in order to dip a toe into the subscription realm, they created a channel geared towards kids, “where curious kids can explore their world with videos full of amazing animals, surprising adventures and fascinating facts.” The interesting thing about these channels for young viewers is that the people watching may not be the same people who are paying. Will kids ask their parents to subscribe? Will parents subscribe with the intent of encouraging their kids to watch? Will it be a family activity?

  • Famous comedy club chain, The Laugh Factory, responds to requests for lengthier and ad-free comedy content with a channel that offers “premium stand-up comedy videos and full-length comedy shows to complement the large selection of comedy clips on our free YouTube channel.” YouTube loves funny. Comedy establishments would be wise to try out different ways to expose their talent online.

  • Digital Theatre partnered with Britain’s leading theatre companies to film some of their best live performances in HD. While this content is usually only accessible on a public broadcast network or special screenings in theaters, subscribers can now view these stage plays from the comfort of their own homes and directly on their computers.

  • Movie on-demand channels attempt to give Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu a run for their money by offering high quality films to online viewers. Docurama features award-winning documentaries and independent films, straight from the Sundance, Toronto, and SXSW film festivals.

    Related movie channels: PixL, Magnet Releasing, Docu Pix, BIGSTAR Movies, Gravitas Movies

  • Self-help and “How To” is a popular theme on YouTube, from makeup and music tutorials to advice videos. Big Think Mentor brings some of the biggest names in mentorship to YouTube, featuring workshops with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maria Konnikova, and Tim Ferriss.

    Related self-help and “How To” channels: Real Wisdom TV, Personal Defense Network, iAmplify FitnessPGA Digital Golf Academy, Sportskool Plus, Woodworkers Guild of America

  • Qello, the world’s leading on-demand streaming service for HD concert films and music documentaries, allows viewers to “relive the concerts they loved, see the shows they always wanted to experience, and discover artists they might never have seen.”  The channel also offers viewers the ability to watch full concerts for free in the featured Center Stage and Breakout sections.

  • So, it’s not Epic Rap Battles of History, but it’s still rap battles on YouTube! The Rap Battle Network highlights the hottest battles from rap culture around the globe. hottest battles from around the world. We’re bringing you the realest from the battle rap culture across the globe.