Just when you think YouTube couldn’t get any better, it has raised the bar once again, this time by announcing the launch of its very own TV streaming service.
At a recent event in Los Angeles, the Google-owned company said that for a nominal subscription fee of $35 a month, the service will include over 35 channels from the ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC networks. Considering that many rely purely on the internet for entertainment, the move is being touted by many as an attempt to woo this particular audience. It is also assumed that this select group hasn’t, or isn’t, going to be signing up for cable services.
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“For kids under 18, it's really just YouTube, Instagram, some Snapchat, and Netflix for very young kids,” said David Pakman, a tech investor with Venrock, as reported by The Verge. “These kids will never subscribe to cable, and even in a skinny bundle world, they don't know what brands like Dish are. I believe YouTube could bring traditional shows to their audience and expand viewing of those shows,” he added.
The standard price of $35 a month allows for the creation and usage of six accounts, and users can watch up to three concurrent streams at one time. The service is reported to be rolled out in the US first, and its release elsewhere will depend on its success there.
According to YouTube officials, the decision to launch an independent streaming service is a consequence of the “changing TV habits” of consumers. According to Susan Wojcicki, CEO of the multibillion dollar company, “There no question that millennials love great TV content, but what we are seeing is that they don’t want to watch it in the traditional setting. YouTube TV is designed with the needs of the new generation of TV fans. Those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments.”
The service or ‘YouTube TV’, as it is being referred to, will be offered through a stand-alone app, which, according to reports, will be also be accessible through laptops and even traditional TVs through Chromecast-supporting devices. The company believes that most users will be actively using the service whilst on the road, for instance, on their way to work or during their journey back home.
YouTube TV will feature live shows and events from its associated four networks, which will include popular channels like ESPN, CNBC, FX, Fox News, and MSNBC. While it will be missing channels associated with Viacom, Turner Broadcasting, and AMC Networks, it will be making up for it by throwing in originals from its YouTube Red subscriptions services for free.
As for the additional features, the app will allow you to browse a tab of live programming or search for shows/events by genres. It will allow DVD-style recording of the shows for its users, who can further use Google Cloud’s unlimited storage space and its options to slip over advertisements. Speaking of advertisements, YouTube may now charge its clients higher prices to showcase their ads, considering that it’s looking to make its videos front and centre on the biggest screen in the house.
YouTube TV will be competing with the likes of digital TV services that have gained popularity in the last few years. These include the ones launched by Dish Networks, Sony, and AT&T. Hulu, which is jointly owned by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, and Time Warner, is set to launch its own TV service later this year as well.
YouTube Product Chief, Neal Mohan isn’t too worried about the competition. To him, what sets YouTube TV apart from the other players is its “better service”, its recommendation system powered by Google’s AI, and most importantly, the company’s reputation when it comes to reliability and scalability.
As for the channels signing up with the company for this service, they have the added advantage of using YouTube’s existing user-base, which is quite feasible for distribution purposes.
“Almost every person in the world with a smartphone or connected TV already has the YouTube app,” says Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG. To him, in terms of the technological infrastructure and experience, YouTube is the best positioned to deliver reliable services, considering the struggle faced by its competitors to deliver live signals at scale.
While the company hasn’t announced a date for the launch of its TV streaming service yet, it is expected to be sometime around spring in the US.
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