The pay-as-you-go model is about to tested in online video. Jalipo, an upstart Internet site headed by a former Sony (NYSE:SNE) executive, launched as an open beta this week.

Unlike the plethora of free video-sharing sites out there, Jalipo expects viewers to prepay for credits that are used to watch full-length feature films, video clips, and live television. But Jalipo's pricing is all over the map. Watching an hour of BBC World or Bloomberg Television will only set you back $1.35 on the lowest quality setting. However, catching a film by British indie studio Dogwoof can run you as much as $10, far more than a conventional rental.

Studios would love to see this platform take off, of course. Getting folks to pay up for chunky video content delivery would be a dream. However, with a proliferation of ad-supported free sites like Joost out there, will consumers really pony up the cash?

It hasn't worked domestically. Even Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which launched its video store last year with gumdrop dreams of selling CBS (NYSE:CBS) episodes and NBA games, eventually let its home page be overrun with free videos.

So Jalipo has a long road ahead. Aping the prepaid-cell-phone model, with per-minute charges and credits that are topped off when running low, won't be an easy sell in cyberspace. Even in Europe, where Internet access and local telephone service are often metered, Jalipo isn't heading into a cakewalk.

Many of the leading content providers have already resigned themselves to syndicating content to free sites in sponsor-supported revenue-sharing deals. Jalipo will be able to target content by region, so it may be a hit somewhere. That somewhere -- unfortunately for content providers -- is unlikely to be here in America.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can't imagine paying for video streams, but he's sure many felt that way about music before Apple came around. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.