Do YouTube Subscriptions Make Money?


In most cases, a user subscribing to a YouTube channel does not directly bring revenue to the video uploader. However, it can increase the number of views the channel's videos receive and, in turn, its advertising revenue. In 2013 YouTube launched a limited trial of channels which were only accessible by users paying a subscription fee.

Standard Subscriptions

  • YouTube users can subscribe to a channel, which is the collection of videos uploaded by a particular organization or person. This has three main effects. Firstly, the user will automatically be able to go straight to the subscribed channel of videos through links on the YouTube website and in mobile and set-top box applications. Secondly, the subscription will affect the videos contained in the "What to watch" suggestion list when the user visits YouTube. Finally, the user can opt to get email alerts when the channel operator uploads a new video.


  • You will not get a direct payment for the fact that somebody has used the standard subscribe option for your website. However, it will increase the number of ways and times in which the user becomes aware you have uploaded a new video. This in turn will increase the number of views you get on videos, which will boost your revenue if you have allowed advertising on the channel. You may also get an indirect boost to your business if you are promoting your products and services through your YouTube videos.

Paid Subscriptions

  • In May 2013, YouTube announced a trial of paid subscriptions for certain channels. As of September 2013, 37 channels had paid subscription options. Only users who have paid for a subscription are able to see videos on the channels, so they will need to be logged in to their Account. Users get a 14-day free trial and then pay a monthly fee through the Google Wallet payment system, with fees starting at 99 cents. Exactly how the revenue is divided is not public knowledge, though YouTube has indicated it is similar to the way advertising works, in which the content provider gets 55 percent and YouTube 45 percent.

Planned Changes

  • Initially the paid channels option was only available to selected content providers, mainly media groups and large entertainment brands. Most of these maintained their existing free channels but launched new paid channels with premium content, often archive material that wasn't previously available online. In August 2013, YouTube announced it plans to make the option available to any channel owner who already has 10,000 (unpaid) subscribers; this change was scheduled for some point in Fall 2013.

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