YouTube has launched subscription-based video-on-demand channels with 30 of the world’s leading content providers. Among the companies selected to provide paid channels at launch are DHX Media, which is planning three new kids’ channels for the site, Sesame Workshop, UFC, BabyFirst, Jim Henson, National Geographic Kids and Treehouse.
After months of rumors, YouTube officially announced the launch of subscription VOD channels Thursday, a major move for the site, which up until now has been funded primarily by advertising.
“This is a really unique moment–never before in history has anybody been able to launch three services in 10 countries and 11 languages at once,” says Michael Hirsh, executive chairman, DHX Media. “What YouTube is doing has never been done before. This is such a tremendous change in the way you’re able to get content out.”
And DHX has jumped at a chance to be a part of that change.
“We’ve already been enjoying the benefit of having our library online with services like Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon, Hulu, Comcast and Time Warner, but YouTube allows us to provide our programming on a niche basis,” says Hirsh. “Other online services are more general. We believe we can help service the kids’ marketplace by offering niche channels and YouTube is great at delivering and servicing niche audiences.”
To that end, DHX Media is planning three new kids’ channels that will be part of YouTube’s first paid channels rollout–DHX Kids for 5- to 11-year-olds, DHX Junior for preschoolers and DHX Retro, targeted to both kids and nostalgic adults. And those channels will be immediately available to audiences in 11 languages and 10 countries including Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Spain, Russia and the U.S.
For content providers like DHX and others that have thousands of hours of programming, the move to online streaming has opened up a whole new playing field.
“We have the largest independent library in America, so being online has drastically enhanced our ability to get our characters out there because there is unlimited shelf space,” says Hirsh. “Part of the problem with TV networks is the shelf space is very limited.”