Today YouTube announced a new service that will deliver live TV from popular television channels to paying customers through YouTube. For $35 a month, starting sometime this spring, subscribers to YouTube TV will be able to watch the top four broadcast networks—ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS—and 35 or so of their affiliated cable channels, including ESPN, Disney Channel, MSNBC, National Geographic, and Fox News. Subscribers will also get a DVR to recording shows and unlimited storage space in the cloud. The only catch is that shows are automatically deleted after nine months. (We do not know at this time what markets will get live local channels.)
Update: You can signup to be notified when it goes live here: https://tv.youtube.com/welcome/
You will also be able to add premium channels like Showtime for an additional fee. It also seems the service will be called YouTube TV but will not launch for a few months.
YouTube TV subscribers will be able to watch YouTube TV on smartphones, tablets, laptop computers. The mobile apps are designed to easily “cast” from smartphones to larger screens, perhaps even—for we olds—actual TV sets. Sadly the press release we got did not list streaming players like Roku, Fire TV, etc. Yet both do allow you to cast YouTube Videos. It is possible that YouTube TV will work on streaming players like the Roku and Fire TV.
Update: We can now confirm that Viacom has not made a deal with Google. This means channels like MTV, Comedy Central, and Spike TV to name a few will NOT be on the new YouTube TV service. AMC Networks, Discovery Communications, and A+E Networks are also missing as of the launch announcement. (Remember we are still months from launch so this could all change.)
Throughout the app, native YouTube content will be layered in alongside the network shows. Google says the goal is not so much to lure older viewers away from their cable subscriptions, but rather to coax youngsters into paying for a package of linear TV channels for the first time. “This is TV reimagined for the YouTube generation,” says Christian Oestlien, director of product management at YouTube.
Google also wants to offer excellent customer service, something a YouTube executive said is oen of cable’s biggest pain points right now. You’ll be able to contact customer service through the YouTube app any time, either via text chat or voice chat.
According to Google’s blog you will get six accounts and three concurrent streams:
- Six accounts, one price. Every YouTube TV membership comes with six accounts, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage limits. You can watch up to three concurrent streams at a time.
“We’ve been talking about this concept of bringing together the best of TV and the best of YouTube for a long time,” says Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer. “We want to be the whole universe of video content.”
“These two different types of media have evolved along separate, parallel paths,” says Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer of YouTube. “They’ve been inching closer and closer together. This is the final convergence.”
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that the company was doing this as a way to reach the many younger people who don’t want TV on a standard TV screen. Wojcicki went on to say that YouTube wants to offer customers TV “whenever they want, on any screen, on their terms.”
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