As many as 50 of YouTube’s most popular channels are expected to carry a subscription fee starting at around $1.99 (€1.52) per month.
“We’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
The income from subscription fees is expected to fund new TV and shows that can be viewed exclusively online as YouTube aims to take on the likes of Netflix and LOVEFiLM.
Advertising on YouTube and rival video sites has risen fast, but remains a fraction of television budgets. Digital video advertising will jump from $2.93bn to $4.14bn in 2013, eMarketer estimates, but will account for just 2.4 per cent of all ad spending.
Channels currently expected to be launched under the new subscritpion service include The Onion, Howcast and WWE.