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Google bringing pay-per-view to YouTube

Professional content producers rejoice: Google plans to sell YouTube videos with micropayments and subscription services, CEO Eric Schmidt said Thursday.

So far, YouTube has been a free, advertising-supported service, but Google plans to build payment mechanisms into its video-sharing site.

"With respect to how it'll get monetized, our first priority is on the advertising side. We do expect over time to see micropayments and other forms of subscription models coming as well," said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt after the company reported first-quarter profits Thursday. "We'll be announcing additional things in that area literally very, very soon."

The change in tactics will mark a new era for Google's attempt to make money from YouTube. The service is tremendously popular, but also tremendously expensive to operate, and Google has been working hard for months to come up with a more successful financial formula for sharing video.

Schmidt's words came at the same time Google is signing a partnership to show Sony Pictures' full-length movies and build a section of YouTube devoted to professionally made content.

Google has had fractious relations with companies that produce video, but that's changing now, Schmidt said. "We are making very good progress now with small, medium, and even large-scale studios," he said.