YouTube code refers to paid channel subscriptions

Code appears in YouTube for Android that suggests Google is already laying the software foundation for subscription channels.

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Steven Musil
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Paid channel subscriptions on YouTube may be closer than previously thought.

After reports last month that YouTube was considering offering channels that would require a fee to access them, code has now appeared that suggests Google is already laying the software foundation for subscription channels.

According to the Android Police site, the latest version of YouTube for Android includes two lines of code that refer to paid channel subscriptions. The code, apparently intended to generate messages on users' screens, say:

You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.
You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.

YouTube had approached a handful of producers about developing content for a subscription platform that might the Google-owned video-sharing site hoped to launch this year, according to an AdAge report in January. YouTube was also mulling a plan to charge for other items, such as entire libraries of videos, live events, and even self-help or financial advice shows, AdAge reported.

A paid content platform would offer viewers an alternative to traditional TV, as well as deliver new revenue streams through subscriptions and ads placed in the channels.

YouTube confirmed to CNET tonight that it is working on a subscription service.

"We have nothing to announce at this time, but we're looking into creating a subscription service that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer," a YouTube spokesperson said.

YouTube has floated the idea of launching subscription services in the past. YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar said in February 2012 that his company was considering allowing content providers to create their own, unique subscription-based video service on the site.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. PT with YouTube comment.

(Via The Verge)