YouTube announced this week that it is going to launch a live TV streaming service with live access to 40 "traditional" networks. The move highlights the continuing shift away from traditional television and cable and towards the internet. The old networks have been hesitant over the past decade to embrace the web as a platform for television, as it upended their previous model, but more and more over the past few years, these networks have slowly begun to embrace the web.
The subscription service will cost $35 a month for a plan that allows for concurrent viewing from up to 6 accounts. The service is expected to launch during the summer in the US.
This shift demonstrates the changing ways that we consume video content. The web has become a hub for all things video, and this has unnerved the traditional networks. With the rise of platforms like Facebook Live and Snapchat, the old networks can feel the pressure that they are slowly becoming less relevant quickly. It used to be that everyone would tune in to whatever was on the three networks, then came cable which segmented the audience like never before. Now, with the internet, the general audience is fractured and people can search for content that they want, not content that they are spoon-fed by the networks.
All of this is to say that content is no longer a mystified product that only a few people knew how to make. Now everyone can create content, put it on the web, and make a career for themselves in video.
So what are you waiting for?
Subscribers will have access to up to 40 networks, as well as YouTube creator content like original content from subscription service YouTube Red. Channels include all broadcast channels and cable channels like USA, FX, Freeform, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Users can add Showtime and soccer programming for an additional fee.
"There's no question that millennials love great TV content, but what we've seen is they don't want to watch it in the traditional setting," said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at a press event.
The over-the-top service will let people watch on any device. Users can also record as many programs as they want. Some content with restrictions, like NFL games, may be blocked on mobile but will be available on TV and on desktop.
People will be able to stream to their TVs using Chromecast when the service launches, with additional devices to be added in the future. In addition, Google Home and Google Cast will allow people to speak to their TVs to control their TV experience in the near future. (The voice search functions failed during the demo on Tuesday, proving more work needs to be done.)
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