Entries in Subscription (4)


New YouTube Paid Channels Could Shake Up Industry

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google’s YouTube is venturing into the world of paid subscription content with Thursday’s announcement of a pilot run of paid channels. Subscription prices start at $.99 monthly, but many offer a discounted yearly rate.

The program is launching with channels from National Geographic Kids, the Professional Golfer’s Association, Ultimate Fighting Championship and HDNet. Every channel currently offered has a 14-day trial period with monthly billing beginning immediately after.

Revenue for YouTube content creators have, up to this point, been ad based, but most of the paid channels in this initial offering are ad-free. Channels have subscription price and advertising information clearly posted by the “Subscribe” button, so users will know whether the channel will contain ads before signing up.

“YouTube’s decision to allow channel operators to charge monthly subscriptions gives YouTube a huge competitive advantage over Netflix and Hulu when it come to new episodic programming,” TJ Walker, a media analyst and producer/host of YouTube news channel T. J. Walker News and Comment, told ABC News. “This could be the beginning of the end for traditional cable TV companies as well.”

Walker said he won’t be charging for his channel anytime soon, but certainly understands the desire for some YouTubers to create a sustainable business model by way of paid subscription offerings.

“If producers can reach viewers and charge them subscriptions directly through YouTube, it means a brave new world where middlemen like Netflix and Hulu get squeezed out and become as irrelevant as AOL dial-up service,” said Walker.

The Google TV platform, sold in the form of set-top boxes and televisions from companies like Sony and Vizio, features a dedicated YouTube app that supports the new paid channels.

A spokesperson for YouTube told ABC News, “Currently you can watch paid channels on many recent TVs running the new YouTube TV app, Xbox and Boxee devices.” The Apple TV is not yet supported, but the YouTube representative said, adding: “We’re working to expand this to more devices, as well as giving you the ability to subscribe to paid channels from these devices.”

Walker does believe, however, the ability to easily stream this YouTube content on the big screen means huge things moving forward.

“Younger people simply think in terms of video they want to watch when and wherever they want to watch it. And thanks to devices like Apple TV and iPhones that turn into great remote controls, the traditional TV set is now just another extension from the cell phone screen and the iPad screen,” Walker said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Netflix Loses 800,000 Subscribers over Price, Rental Changes

PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- Netflix is paying for its recent missteps and loss of goodwill.

The Internet movie rental provider announced Monday that the number of its subscribers dropped to 23.79 million last quarter -- a plunge of 800,000 from the 24.59 million users in the second quarter.

The subscription drop came as Netflix announced it was raising its prices by as much as 60 percent and dividing its DVD-by-mail and online streaming services, causing an outcry among users, who cancelled their memberships in protest.  The company has since nixed its plan to separate its rental businesses.

Monday's third quarter report also rocked the company on Wall Street, sending its shares down 27 percent as trading wrapped up for the day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Netflix Apologizes for Changes; Separates DVD, Streaming Services

PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- Netflix has issued an apology to its millions of subscribers for how it's handled a new pricing policy.

"I messed up.  I owe everyone an explanation," said CEO Reed Hastings in a blog post to Netflix customers on Sunday.

Hastings admitted his company "lacked respect and humility" in how it announced new, higher prices.  The changes led to many customers canceling their subscriptions.

And now, customers have another reason to complain: Netflix is separating its online streaming and DVD rental services.

The company says it will retain its name for its streaming business but will branch out its DVD business under the name "Qwikster."  The services will no longer be integrated, so customers will have to sign on to two separate websites -- and -- and will have two distinct accounts.

Hastings adds, "There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!).  Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix.  The total will be the same as the current charges."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Despite Paywall, 'New York Times' Readers Find Free Access

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Don't want to pay for content hidden behind the New York Times' recently-raised paywall?  Hopping over it may be easier than you think.

Since the Times' announcement two weeks ago that it would start charging for access to its site, programmers, readers and bloggers have made a sport of finding the holes in the so-called Grey Lady's digital wall, spreading their tactics far and wide.  Some have burrowed in with lines of code, others are finding free access just by switching Web browsers.

While critics say the gaps highlight flaws in the newspapers' new business model, the Times says the holes are deliberate and meant to encourage openness across the Internet.

In announcing the digital subscription plan that went live Monday, the Times said readers could still view 20 articles every four weeks for free, including slideshows, videos and other features.

After 20 articles, the charge ranges from $15 to $35 every four weeks, depending on whether readers want to access the content from just the Web or other mobile devices as well.

Home delivery subscribers get all access for no extra charge and the Times revealed Monday that Kindle subscribers will also get free access to Web content with their $20 monthly subscription.

Readers who reach the Times through blogs and links from social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, can access unlimited articles, even if they have reached their monthly limit, the paper said.  And those who come in through search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo, get five extra stories per day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio