It’s no lie or fabrication that YouTube is slowly but surely taking over our lives. People aren’t Googling makeup advice or video game walkthroughs anymore, choosing instead to go straight to the biggest and most popular video hosting website on the face of the Earth. But, if that accolade wasn’t enough for the big wigs at YouTube, it’s rumoured that in 2017 they will be directly taking on traditional television with a premium based TV streaming service called YouTube Unplugged.
Following a recent trend amongst young people called ‘cord cutting’ (cancelling expensive and unused cable subscriptions in favour of a low-cast TV alternative), Bloomberg spoke to people closely linked to the Unplugged project about what YouTube have been working on behind the scenes since 2012. Essentially, for a low monthly cost of under $35, users will be able to access “skinny bundles” of specifically tailored cable channels and broadcast networks that they can use instead of paying gross amounts of money for, well, every single channel ever.
In a letter penned last week by the chief executive offer at Google, Sundar Pichai talks more about YouTube’s biggest priority – more viewing time and increased non-advertising revenue; “We aim to provide more choice to YouTube fans – more ways for them to engage with creators and each other, and more ways for them to get great content. We’ve started down this journey with specialised apps like YouTube Kids, as well as through our YouTube Red subscription service”. Whilst the Unplugged project sits solely as a rumour right now, sources close to the project have referenced CBS, Fox and Comcast as services that YouTube are interested in getting involved with the streaming site.
The possibility of YouTube moving into the arena of live TV isn’t that farfetched following a recent talk at the YouTube Brandcast event, which is currently taking place in New York City. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki dropped some pretty incredible statistics about the success they’re having in competition to traditional forms of visual entertainment; “I’m happy to announce that on mobile alone, YouTube now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any network – broadcast or cable. In fact, we reach more 18- to 49-year-olds [in the US] during prime time than the top 10 TV shows combined”. Can’t argue with that!
Even though the idea of YouTube Unplugged still seems to be tightly under wraps, some speculation has been made to what these “skinny bundles” could entail for their paying users – with one scenario involving 4 US broadcast networks and a collection of popular cable channels being made in a neat little package. If we get anymore information on this story, we’ll keep you updated.