Youtube, universally known as the source for free videos of everything kitten, fighting or sexy (and the rare, sexy kitten fight) finally detailed their plan to allow certain content providers to offer paid subscriptions. A few dozen of YouTube’s one million revenue-generating accounts have been announced as now having premium content channels that will cost anywhere from .99 cents to $7.99 per month — including the UFC’s massively popular channel.
UFC Select will offer subscribers event replays, episodes of The Ultimate Fighter and classic fights for $5.99 a month. For years, all YouTube content has been free but the word is that this new paid subscription pilot program was created to satisfy complaints major content creators like the UFC who wanted to make more money than they are making from ads on their free YouTube videos.
It is unknown what the revenue split from subscriptions will be between YouTube and companies like the UFC. However, the New York Times reports that the video hosting website took 45% of revenue from ads on free videos. Malik Ducard, the director of content partnerships told media during a teleconference this week that the paid subscription revenue split would be similar.
Maybe that’s a good deal for the UFC, maybe not. A move like this certainly helps us understand the UFC’s aggressive legal strategy of shutting down sites and people who stream events live and even use taped footage in highlight videos. They want to continue to monetize the content that they have invested heavily in to create.
But what we really care about is whether or not fight fans will actually pay for fights online. On the one hand, there’s the possibility that visitors will reject wholesale the idea of paying for videos on YouTube, including those from the UFC’s page. On the other, YouTube has a pretty steady (to say the least) audience that might just be captive at this point. And it isn’t as if people are not at least getting familiar with the idea of paying for things on the internet, from iTunes to Netflix.
What do you say, Potato Nation? Will you sign up for UFC Select and pay $5.99 for old content delivered to you conveniently or will you continue your personal battle against the Zuffa legal department by watching grainy bootlegged online copies of fights, and mysterious “Jerry Rips” compilations?