YouTube is taking the next step into world’s visual domination announcing that later this year it will include TV subscription in its features. The service will cost $35-a-month and will include 40 channels with some of the major US networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN. HBO unfortunately is not included in the original package but the option for future expansion stays open. The other channels that the viewers won’t have access at the beginning are CNN, Cartoon Network, Viacom channels like MTV and VH1. However, the service will include the “cloud DVR” option that will allow the users to record and store their favorite programs.
Similar to other streaming media services YouTube will start the launch of theirs in USA with possible expansion in other countries later on. Currently Netflix and Hulu are the main players on the market having successfully approached their audience by providing not only other channels but their own production. At the moment though YouTube will focus only on delivering “live TV designed for the YouTube generation” by providing their service available both for SmartTVs and mobile phone. “Those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments.” Christian Oestlien, product management director for YouTube commented.
Despite the lavish presentation, it is a matter of time to see if YouTube will manage to cut their piece of the market. On one side is already quite a busy territory with already few more streaming providers offering so called “skinny bundles” – few main channels at cheaper than traditional TV package. On the other there are also the “big sharks” like Netflix, Hulu and DirectTV (owned by AT&T conglomerate) with already established presence and millions of subscriptions. Their strong points are either production of top TV programs (Netflix), either enormous database of 120 channels to choose from (DirectTV) or free commercials programs (Hulu).
The major advantage of YouTube is the vast infrastructure of Google they can use for future development. According to Paul Verna of eMarketer “YouTube is already an extremely well established video brand, and its apps are virtually everywhere”. He also thinks the video-network has the technical know-how and it was about time to focus it into building a good user interface.
At the moment YouTube has over 1 billion hours of videos watched daily on its network which makes it number one service in that field.