YouTube is changing the way it does business with the launch of paid channels, and a handful of Canadians are getting in on the ground floor.
Google Inc.’s site, known for its free and viral videos, has teamed up with 30 companies to pilot on-demand channels requiring a monthly subscription fee. Shows that went live Thursday included ones for kids, wrestling fans and yogis.
“When you think about how television has operated, or how television networks operated in the past, this is a fundamentally revolutionary moment,” said Michael Hirsh, executive chairman of DHX Media, which has three of the paid channels.
The Halifax-based children’s entertainment company, behind Caillou and Inspector Gadget, is charging $2.99 monthly for each of its channels, after a two-week trial period ends.
Its shows, for a range of ages, went online in multiple languages in 10 countries without clearing the traditional regulatory hurdles, Hirsh said, adding the subscriptions are “great add-ons to existing services.”
But beyond that, analysts say niche programs and prices as low as 99 cents will take subscription dollars from traditional services, as more people go online.