As long-rumored, YouTube is launching paid channels in a pilot program starting today. A small number of shows, including Sesame Street and UFC, will begin offering channels that can only be accessed after paying an apparently variable subscription fee, which starts at $0.99 per month. A full list of channels can be found on YouTube's Channels page, including offerings from film distributors Magnet and comedy channel Laugh Factory.
Some channels will offer yearly discounts, and all will come with a 14-day free trial. For now, the program is apparently quite small, but YouTube will be rolling it out in the coming weeks for current qualifying partners. Paid channels are an expansion of YouTube's partner channel program, which launched in 2012 and allows for more TV-like "series" or videos focused on a particular company. The company has played up the importance of subscription models before, and it's been making a heavy play to compete with both traditional television and streaming services like Netflix.
Update: Infamous B-movie producer and director Roger Corman has announced that he will launch a paid channel this summer. "Corman's Drive-In" will showcase his studio's library of around 400 films, along with introductions and interviews. Corman has worked with a huge number of Hollywood actors and directors at an early stage in their careers, including Robert de Niro, Martin Scorsese, and David Carradine, who had a leading role in the Corman-produced '70s classic Death Race 2000.
Update: While a full list of channels is currently available, Sesame Street, one of the partners, is still based on the older model, with pricing from its previous episode-based format; a new subscription-based channel will come later. Article has been updated to reflect this.