UFC quietly debuts subscription-based YouTube content

USA TODAY Sports

The UFC and YouTube, which already have had a partnership, have added a subscription channel focusing on history. The key attraction will be the ability to watch older pay-per-views, starting with UFC 1, with a new full show airing each week.

With almost no advanced warning, the UFC added a second YouTube channel, this one on a subscription basis, which debuted on Thursday afternoon.

There had been some media coverage of how YouTube, which debuted a number of channels less than a year ago, was attempting to monetize the project by offering a series of new channels that would charge monthly subscription fees. However, until Thursday morning, there had been no talk at all UFC would be one of the original partners.

"They launched it at Noon Pacific time," said Edward Muncey, UFC's Senior Vice President of Digital, whose work in programming the station is a lot more rewarding then on pay-per-view nights, when he has the thankless job of trying to weed out the endless copyright violators. "We've had a great presence on YouTube. Everyone knows we put a lot of content up. Dana (White) puts his vlogs on YouTube. We look at this as another way for people to access content. We'll have no ads. We've chosen not to. We had the option."

The service will go for $5.99 per month, although currently they are offering a 14-day free preview.

The channel is geared for fans who are interested in history and nostalgia, as it is based around older footage, that would be changed once a week.

The free channel will remain focused on promoting and covering the current shows, airing White's videos the week of the fight, Countdown shows, the press conferences before and after the fights, the weigh-ins, as well as offer the ability to purchase the pay-per-views on the Internet, with added bells and whistles.

The programming on that channel gears up the week of events, but is slower during a period like now where it's a few weeks between shows.

"We're sometimes inconsistent," said Muncey. "Our schedule isn't every single week and our content (on the existing channel) is based on the rhythm of events.

"This (the new channel) is consistent. Every week there will be new content."

The new service, at Youtube.com/ufcselect will have five different categories: individual fights, a UFC television show, a Pride television show, a pay-per-view show and a full season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show.

Each week will have eight new individual fights. At least one, if not more, will feature fighters who are in key positions on the next major show. For example, the highlight fight this week is the 2010 battle between Junior Dos Santos and Gilbert Yvel, since Dos Santos is in the co-main event position at UFC 160, the company's next pay-per-view, on May 25. There will also be one episode of UFC Unleashed, again, usually featuring a fighter on the next major show. There will also be an episode of "Best of the Pride Fighting Championships," and one pay-per-view event from the past in its entirety.

The latter may be the key attraction, because Muncey noted most UFC fans weren't around during the infancy of the company. They are going to air every show, in order, starting with the first UFC event on November 12, 1993, which airs this week, a one-night tournament won by Royce Gracie. UFC 2 will be featured a week from now, and UFC 3 the week after that.

There will also be one full season of The Ultimate Fighter on the station, which will change every month, instead of every week. This month, they will be airing season 13, since Dos Santos coached with Brock Lesnar.

"We don't tend to go backwards to UFC 1 and 2," Muncey noted about content, whether it be on You Tube or the UFC.tv web site. "We've taken the road map to start from the beginning."

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