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Will paid YouTube channels be another nail in cable's coffin?YouTube, which boasts one billion unique monthly users, is now exploring paid subscription models. CNET's Sumi Das looks at the arguments for and against charging YouTube viewers for content they've grown accustomed to watching for free.
-It's highly unlikely you'll have to pay to watch videos of cats playing piano, but Youtube will soon announce plans to let some channels charge a monthly fee for their content, a move that may alienate some users. -I think nowadays, there's enough free content out there that nobody's gonna pay for it. -Most content is expected to remain free of charge. Early online reports say Youtube will initially offer 50 channels with each channel subscription costing as little as $2 a month. -Youtube's really made an investment in what they call premium contents so what you're likely to end up paying for is shows that are incredibly popular already. There are networks like the young turks which I think has an aggregate of a billion views. People may already be interested in paying for that but they're also creating shows with well-known celebrities, with people who you already want to watch and that's the kind of content they're gonna ask you to pay for. -In a statement, Youtube said, "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. With paid subscriptions, Youtube would compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon which have successfully gained millions of paid subscribers and created original content. -What we're seeing now is almost the creation of new kinds of TV networks and each of them, like the existing TV networks, has their own distinct programming. -The BBC has already said it would not be introducing fees for its Youtube channel. Youtube will reportedly offer two subscription options: with and without advertising. That could make a difference for some. -I think it was fine as is but the odds are pretty crazy. It would be nice to have less ads. -And there's another benefit for users. -So you may pay for Netflix and Netflix original programming but those same shows might not be on Hulu. They might not be on Youtube. So if you have favorite on Youtubes or shows on Youtube that you think you want to watch specifically, this is a good way to kind of put together an ala carte package of programming which you cannot do right now in cable. -In other words, a cable cord cutter's dream. In San Francisco, I'm Sumi Das. Cnet.com for CBS News.