Well, it's finally happening.
After having begun as the brain child of three former PayPal employees in the halcyon pre-Economic Collapse year of 2005, YouTube - the service that allows all of us, any of us to upload videos of our cats jumping out the window, our babies sneezing, and our dads falling down the stairs to his grizzly death - is about to go PayTV.
Literally reversing the cycle of what flummoxed, white-stringy-haired TV historians would tell you occurred in the pioneering days of cable television, YouTube has decided to go from being funded mainly by ad sales and its as-of-2006 superintendent Google (which acquired the site for a reported $1.65 billion in company stock), to bringing in their funds through a series of select paid subscription channels.
If all goes accordingly, the changeover will take place this Spring, as announced by Adage earlier today. Referring to the "new revenue model for TV networks and video producers," Adage's Jason Del Rey goes on to tell us that YouTube has contacted various content producers, requesting proposals they may have qua paid channels that will cost "somewhere between $1 and $5 a month.
"In addition to episodic content," Del Rey continues, "YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view [sic], as well as self-help or financial advice shows."
Although speculation suggests YouTube will be looking for outside sources of content, you may want to hold off on your minute-and-half cinematic paean to your palsied dog wearing a floppy sombrero. More than likely the YouTube folks will be going with the tried and true fare brought to us by established providers such as Fullscreen.
This is not the first time YouTube has ventured into at least considering subscription-based channels. At last year's AllThingsD media conference, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar said he was "open [to] the possibility for YouTube to create a subscription service to help the company diversify its current dependence on advertising."
As regards tapping cable networks for content, Kamanger added, "If we have a subscription model, then absolutely that's something that becomes possible."
The fact that it was estimated by unaffiliated web engineer Amar Pradhu that YouTube earned little more than fifty-thousand dollars for last year's top hit, the irrepressible (if not irritating) "Gangnam Style" video, (after 595 million hits as of October 2012), means that they may indeed be ready to set their sights on seeing per-channel profits of their traditional counterparts.
But, still, will anything by established TV folks be able to compete with the innocent naivete of all of us out there who just want millions of viewers to see us dance besotted with our loved ones in the rain? Or how about YouTube's adorably colloquial first-ever video, uploaded by co-founder Jawed Karim himself?
One can take solace knowing that an elephant, at least, will never forget.