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Fullscreen's George Strompolos Says YouTube Viewers Will Pay Up -- For the Right Stuff

Subscriptions to bundles of "premium" video that you can't get anywhere else. That sounds familiar!

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Are you ready to pay money to watch videos made by YouTube stars?

YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki thinks you are, which is why YouTube is planning to launch subscription services. So does Jason Kilar, whose Vessel startup is putting together its own subscription offering.

And so does George Strompolos. The Fullscreen CEO, whose video creators are generating billions of views a month on YouTube, isn’t willing to talk about the details of the videos he wants to sell. But last week, when he came by our Code/Media San Francisco event, he was happy to drop a few hints.

For starters, Strompolos noted, some YouTube fans are already paying to see stuff from their favorite creators. Camp Takota, a $15 movie featuring YouTube (and Fullscreen) star Grace Helbig, has sold “hundreds of thousands” of copies, he said. He also suggested that YouTube fans would be willing to pay for subscriptions to bundles of content that they couldn’t get anywhere else.

That sure sounds a lot like pay TV to me, and when I said that to Strompolos he didn’t seem to have a problem with the analogy. Which makes sense, given that his company is now owned by former pay TV executive Peter Chernin and AT&T, a company that sells lots of pay TV right now.

One note: You may notice a weird edit in the following video. That’s because during our conversation, Strompolos shared a teaser clip from “Day 5,” a new “premium” series Fullscreen is preparing via its recently acquired Rooster Teeth studio. He’s quite proud of it, but doesn’t want it shared on the Web yet. So if you weren’t in the room with us last week, you’ll have to wait a bit.

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