YouTubeAs long-rumored, YouTube is now launching paid channels in a pilot program. A small number of shows, including Sesame Street and UFC, will begin offering channels that can only be accessed after paying an apparently variable subscription fee, which starts at $0.99 per month. The Sesame Street channel, for instance, lets users stream full episodes for $1.99 apiece in standard definition or $2.99 in HD, and they can buy a full season for $17.99 or $27.99.  Some channels will offer yearly discounts, and all will come with a 14-day free trial. For now, the program is apparently quite small, but YouTube will be rolling it out in the coming weeks for current qualifying partners. Paid channels are an expansion of YouTube’s partner channel program, which launched in 2012 and allows for more TV-like “series” or videos focused on a particular company. The company has played up the importance of subscription models before, and it’s been making a heavy play to compete with both traditional television and streaming services like Netflix.

Read the fully story at The Verge.

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