YouTube to offer paid subscription service

YouTube on Thursday ­detailed its plan to let producers sell paid subscriptions to their videos, creating a prominent new marketplace for ­programming on the Internet.

The video website, a unit of Google, said the first paid video channels would come online Thursday afternoon, with subscription rates ranging from 99 cents to $7.99 a month. The early participants include Sesame Workshop, the producer of ‘‘Sesame Street,’’ which will stream full episodes to paying subscribers; Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts league, which will stream classic fights to fans; and The Young Turks, a progressive talk show.

YouTube identified about 30 of these partners on Thursday and said other video makers would soon be able to set up their own paid channels, using YouTube’s infrastructure.


“As we roll out wider and as we roll out self-serve, you’ll see a lot of innovation,’’ said Malik Ducard, director of content partnerships for YouTube, who predicted that homegrown YouTube stars with fan followings would set up paid channels.

The paid channel plan gives YouTube a new source of revenue, although there are doubts about whether people will be willing to pay for channels.