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YouTube to launch 30 paid-monthly channels

Roger Corman's campy B movies, children's shows like "Sesame Street" and "Inspector Gadget," and inspirational monologues by celebrities -- these are among the offerings on 30 channels that will soon require a paid monthly subscription on YouTube.

Although the world's largest video site has rented and sold movies and TV shows from major studios since late 2008, most people watch videos on YouTube for free.

It's the first time YouTube is introducing all-you-can-watch channels that require a monthly fee. The least expensive of the channels will cost 99 cents a month, but the average price is around $2.99.

In the field of paid video content online, YouTube is playing catch-up to services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, all of which have millions of paying customers.

But with a billion monthly visitors from around the globe, the Google-owned video service hopes to quickly add subscribers and add to the money it already makes from online advertising.

"This is just the beginning," said Malik Ducard, YouTube's director of content partnerships. The site plans to roll out a way for a broad number of partners to also launch pay channels on their own soon.

Corman, a producer and director whose influential cult classics like "Deathrace 2000" and "Piranha" earned him an honorary Oscar in 2009, said he's kept his 400-film library off video streaming sites until now.

In an interview, the 87-year-old director said he turned down an offer from Hulu for about $5,000 to $6,000 per film several years ago but sees promise in the YouTube offering. His channel, "Corman's Drive-in," will cost subscribers $3.99 per month for a rotating selection of 30 movies, refreshed with new interviews and clips from films that are in production. It is set to launch in June.

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