In the beginning, YouTube was a place where you posted cat videos, or videos of yourself being dumb. The site was largely ad-free. The world quickly got hooked. Then came the YouTube Partner Program, with which YouTube placed ads inside and over your videos, giving you a cut in its revenue-stream. This sparked off a near-revolution, opening up talented, yet budget-constrained content providers to reach out to the site's millions of users. The views on your videos determined revenue, channels let you clump them together, and subscriptions ensure brand-loyalty. As the platform grew, and production costs started escalating, there emerged a need for a newer revenue model that doesn't deviate from how YouTube essentially works.
According to a Financial Times report, YouTube is giving final touches to a new paid-subscription model, designed to benefit content providers that either operate on high production costs, or can't produce quality content with YouTube's current Partner Program to grow and sustain themselves. With this model, you'd need to pay to subscribe to certain channels, before you can watch their videos.
This model serves to pull two distinct groups of content providers to the YouTube platform. First, it lets small-budget providers get higher revenue to maintain an adequate income and produce quality content, without having to wait for a large enough viewer-base to take shape; and second, it lets providers from the mighty high-budget television and film industries to post their programming on YouTube, and ensure a revenue stream comparable to television. Both groups will naturally manage to attract subscriptions by allowing free views of a few of their videos, just enough to get viewers hooked, and willing to pay.
Subscriptions could start for as little as $1.99 a month, letting you watch videos from the subscribed channel any number of times. It would be entirely up to the channel to post as many videos, as it wants. More premium providers, such as live sports, popular TV shows, or the latest music videos, could charge higher subscription fees. As always, your single Google Account, backed by Google Wallet handles payments and your rights as a consumer.