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YouTube Adds Paid Channels and Watch Them on iPad, iPhone

YouTube made a big announcement on Thursday: add paid subscriptions for certain channels. It had been rumored for some time that YouTube was readying some sort of paid model and today that becomes reality. Best of all,  once signed up for a paid channel, you can watch on your iPad, iPhone and Apple TV beyond the browser on your Mac, and even suck down as much video as it has to offer.

YouTube will now let a few dozen of popular channels charge viewers a subscription fee of 99 cents or more per month, the company announced in a blog post. Each of these channels will offer two weeks of free viewing before charges kick in and some will provide discounts for those who sign up for an annual subscription. There are currently 53 paid channels participating in the pilot, including National Geographic Kids, UFC Select, and British TV provider Acorn TV.

Paying for content on YouTube may seem a little crazy, but the service has expanded far beyond grumpy cat and crying baby videos. Already there is a lot of premium content on YouTube, and the paid channel partners will have to deliver premium content to succeed. But, since we already pay for content in so many other places, YouTube is no different so long as the quality is there. And if a guaranteed pay day means we get better videos, it’s a positive move.

Once you purchase a subscription to a paid channel, you’ll be able to watch the videos on your computer, phone, tablet, and TV. At this point you can only subscribe to channels from a computer, but you’ll soon be able to do so from other devices. For now, it looks like the paid channels already on board are looking at offering you premium access to rerun content a la Hulu, but if these subscriptions turn out to be popular, you could totally see them start to offer exclusive content to subscribers.