YouTube is entering the TV business and has Netflix in its sights

1 Mar 2017

Image: A. Aleksandravicius/Shutterstock

We interrupt this broadcast to tell you that YouTube is entering the TV business.

YouTube is launching a new $35-per-month TV service that will see the Google-owned company square off against not only streaming giants such as Netflix, but also traditional cable TV companies.

The move could also force Facebook’s hand to launch a similar service, since the social media giant has been busy trying to establish itself as a competitor to YouTube on the video and advertising front.

‘With YouTube TV, you’ll be able to record live TV and never run out of storage’

The new YouTube TV service will package a bundle of channels from broadcasters and cable TV networks.

YouTube TV will disrupt your signal

The “mobile first” service will sit within a stand-alone app and will launch later this spring. It will be optimised to be viewed on laptops, tablets and TVs via Google’s Chromecast dongle.

It will function separately to YouTube’s ad-free subscription service, YouTube Red.

The service will feature live TV streaming from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, regional sports networks and dozens of popular cable networks.

It will also host prime-time TV shows that are popular in North America, including Empire, The Voice, The Big Bang Theory and Scandal, as well as movies from FX, kids programming from Disney Channel and Sprout, and a lot more.

Overall, 40 networks will be available when YouTube TV debuts.

The differentiator against Netflix will be what YouTube calls a “cloud DVR”, which will have no storage limits.

“With YouTube TV, you’ll be able to record live TV and never run out of storage,” explained Christian Oestlien, product management director at YouTube.

“Your cloud DVR can record as many shows as you want simultaneously, without using precious data or space on your phone, and we’ll store each of your recordings for nine months.”

A subscription to YouTube TV will also give users access to YouTube Red Original series and movies. Each subscription will come with the capacity for six separate accounts and users will be able to watch up to three concurrent streams at a time.

YouTube TV will launch in the largest US cities and markets first and will gradually expand across the country.

There is no indication yet as to whether the service will launch elsewhere in the world, but it is likely to be just a matter of time.

YouTube on TV. Image: A. Aleksandravicius/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years