Google’s exploring a possible new stream of revenue: fee-based streaming television on YouTube. Peter Kafka, of All Things Digital, reports Google is presently in preliminary discussions with networks and studios, with both sides appearing optimistic.
The deal would include YouTube making available first-run television shows commercial-free for $1.99 apiece, like Apple and Amazon. Rather than allow the shows to be downloaded they’d be streamed. Kafka sees this as a problem–users wanting something a tad more tangible than a stream for their $1.99. YouTube, on the other hand, points to studies that show the download/streaming debate to be largely perceptual: buyers only watch a show once, so having or not having shouldn’t make a difference.
Details are still speculative, and might include YouTube shying away from first-run shows, providing instead shows not readily available through other services. There is also the possibility of a monthly subscription service, which Apple and Hulu are presently exploring.
The entrance of another video provider in a rapidly saturating online media marketplace may be a tough go. Users are notorious for not wanting to pay for content. With plenty of options open to them YouTube’s success with such a venture is open to question.