Yesterday Google announced the launch of 53 subscription based channels, with more to come. The pilot program represents a new way for content producers to monetize videos on YouTube.

For now subscriptions range from $.99 to $5.99 per month, with year long commitments costing less. Each subscription also comes with a 14 day trial period to allow users a chance to get their feet wet before paying. Channels have the option of mixing both paid and free content, and most importantly they can expect a 45% share in the revenues.

While most reports have focused on YouTube’s attempt to compete with Hulu or Netflix, this change could leave a bigger mark on the web series arena. YouTube is a great platform for content discovery and social sharing but ads alone will not ever be able to financially support web series. Networks can bring higher CPM’s and pooled viewership but this money is enough to support vlog style productions at best. Consistent, cheap output is the ad supported YouTube eco system.

Film production is anything but consistent and cheap. High quality, cinematic content on the web will only be able to survive financially, or become profitable when producers can start charging for it.

Is the new subscription option going to be enough to turn things around? Doubtful, but it is a step in the right direction, giving producers the chance to make significantly more money off of their content than they would have with ads alone.