YouTube Subscription Channels are Here

Rumors proved to be true this week when YouTube announced paid subscriptions for channels. This means content creators will now be able to sell access to their content for rates ranging from $0.99 to $7.99 per month. Subscriptions will launch with 53 channel partners, including Sesame Workshop, National Geographic Kids, Recipe.tv, TNA Impact Wrestling and others. All channels have a 14-day free trial and discounted rates for yearly subscribers. YouTube plans to expand subscriptions to other channels in the coming weeks.

It’s up to paid channel partners to decide whether or not they’ll also include ads in their content. YouTube will split revenue with channels with 55% going to the creator and 45% to YouTube, similar to YouTube advertising. As head of content partnerships Malic Ducard put it, “YouTube shouldn’t make the call whether a web paid channel has ads or not. The partners are smarter about their audience and their content than we are.”

This has been closely watched by the industry with reports as early as January.

This has the potential to put YouTube in a very different place than where it’s currently positioned. The channels YouTube will launch with subscriptions are likely going to have very strong fan bases, but only time will tell how users respond to paying for what they previously were getting for free. Perhaps, the introduction of exclusive or additional content will help overcome this challenge.

The other place this puts YouTube in is in the realm of even higher-quality content. With video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu Plus already claiming a lot of subscription dollars, YouTube offers a different value proposition that existing services will have to contend with. YouTube’s a la carte programming option appeals to a growing number of people who no longer want to pay subscriptions for bundles through cable providers.

As YouTube expands its offering with more content and proves that subscriptions are something people are willing to pay for, it may become a stronger competitor to cable providers as big content creators like Disney evaluate whether or not YouTube is for them.

Read more about YouTube’s new subscription channels at The New York Times.

Facebook Working to Acquire Waze

Facebook’s next billion-dollar acquisition may be just around the corner. Waze, the social mapping and traffic app maker, is in talks with Facebook to be acquired for between $800 million and $1 billion. Talks began about six months ago and they appear to be coming to a close as they decide on the last sticking issue: whether Waze will remain based in Israel or moved to the U.S.

Waze gained a lot of attention following the Apple Maps debacle as iOS users adopted Waze as an alternative to Apple Maps.

At this point, everything is rumor as neither party has confirmed this is taking place.

Facebook recently launched Home, its mobile OS for Android devices. It’s also doubled down on mobile in many big ways with ads and encouraging users to check-in and share their locations. Waze would add mapping technology to Facebook and help it make its mobile OS more robust.

Read more on Facebook’s possible Waze acquisition at Reuters.

LinkedIn Launches Content Channels

YouTube wasn’t the only one focusing on channels this week. LinkedIn updated LinkedIn Today’s front page to make news and slide shows easier to find with LinkedIn Channels that allow users to browse, sort and follow content based on categories. Categories range from “My Best Career Mistake” and “Best Advice” to more industry focused content and essays from influencers. The launch includes 20 channels with plans to add more in the future.

LinkedIn acquired the social news reader Pulse and this looks to be a potential outcome of that acquisition. Although, Pulse will remain a separate app for now. The professional social network has been rapidly working to increase engagement on its site with quality content. This helps boost ad revenue and with people viewing more pages and spending more time.

Read more at WebProNews.

News Quick Hits

·         Twitter 4.1 launched for BlackBerry 5 OS and above devices. Features include notifications for new followers, retweets and favorites, and an easier sign-up process. The update starts to put Twitter’s BlackBerry app on parity with Android and iOS versions. (Read more at AllTwitter)

·         Foursquare’s most recent update has come to Windows 8 and features lock screen notifications, voice search and the ability to pin locations to the home screen. The app has been built to fit within the Metro UI with everything organized in colored squares and rectangles. (Read more at The Verge)

·         The much-reported Facebook video ads may be coming to news feeds as early as July. The launch will likely be a test at first with partners including Ford, Unilever and others that are part of Facebook’s Client Council. The ads are reportedly 15-second spots that autoplay on mute by default. (Read more at AdWeek)

·         Facebook restricted Path’s API access to prevent users from sending invitations or suggesting you connect with your Facebook friends after Path came under fire for spamming users’ contacts with invites to join Path. Users can still log in using Facebook, but the “Find Friends” using Facebook feature is gone. (Read more at TechCrunch)

·         A report from Internet Retailer shows how top retailers have adopted social media platforms. All but four of the Top 500 retailers (99.2%) have a Facebook page (up 42.4% from 2009), nearly all (97.2%) are on Twitter (up 76.8% from 2009), and most (87.6%) are also on YouTube (up 46.2% from 2009) and Pinterest (78.0%). The article also notes how retailers like 1-800-Flowers see social as an extension of their business and are evolving into a more of a social business model. (Read more at Internet Retailer)

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