YouTube has announced the launch of YouTube TV, the company’s cord-cutting, TV-killing streaming service that promises to unseat the traditional television industry. The company has been on top of the video streaming world for quite some time now. Seeing a rise in viewership to one billion hours watched per day—a number that challenges traditional television—YouTube is now looking to take advantage of their position.
The service targets Millennial households specifically, since 40% of all Millennials use only an internet connection to receive their entertainment. It combines an over-the-top service of 40 channels for $35 with YouTube’s strong foundation of online video content. YouTube TV will take some time to reach its full potential, but it could change the industry forever, for many reasons.
The service makes up for a light package of channels with a diverse mix of service offerings that help a multitude of customers come together and give YouTube TV a chance. Unlike competitors like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s Vue, and Dish Network’s Sling, this service offers a mix of live-streaming broadcasts, cable television programming, and YouTube’s online video library.
On top of the shear capabilities of the new service, YouTube TV subscribers gain access to a healthy variety of offerings, including YouTube Red original content and Google Play Music for free. The overall package of content offered could get consumers through the door before more more channels are added to keep customers coming back.
Integration of Technology
Not only does the service offer a diverse selection of content, it also has the technological capabilities to change the market and what it means to offer over-the-top capabilities. The app has advanced search features that allow users to find programming based on concepts and themes within the content itself. Of course, it also allows you to search by genre and browse through live programming.
Most importantly, it comes with the full backing of Google and all the tech that comes along with that name. Users have the ability to use DVR recording with unlimited storage space through Google’s own cloud services. YouTube TV is also integrable with Chromecast and even Google Home to offer voice command features. This is important because it allows the new service to fit perfectly in sync with all your other Google tech devices to create a seamless entertainment system for everything.
Focused on the Future
YouTube and Google have thought about the future and are hoping to become the preferred choice for young families who are looking to invest more in home entertainment for the first time. Considering that households with residents between the ages of 18-34 are more likely to opt for alternatives to cable and satellite, YouTube TV becomes the perfect companion for Millennials who are just starting families of their own.
The service currently includes ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, which brings all-age content from Free Form, Disney, Nat Geo Wild, and Sprout for families with younger children. Channels like FX, FXX, The CW, and E! offer content to teenagers as well. YouTube TV subscribers receive six separate accounts to give each member of the family a personalized profile that offers recommendations based on what they like and what they watch. It also allows for three separate streams to play at a time, giving diverse families plenty of ways to share and split TV time.
Dedication to Sports
Many television alternatives have tried to offer the kind of content that consumers want from traditional TV. Unfortunately, few of them have been able to duplicate the offering of live sporting events that cable still has control over. YouTube TV speaks to that demographic by offering an extensive array of sports content from Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, ESPN, ESPNews, ESPN2, and ESPN3.
NFL streaming is also available on TV and PC, though Verizon still holds exclusive rights to mobile. This may seem like a problem for the service, but it’s important to remember that YouTube TV is aimed at Millennials in the home first and foremost. This is the first service to offer a full spectrum of sports content that can actually satiate the demands of those looking for it. Before this, sports fans were simply out of luck at replacing sports content in one package.
One important aspect to also keep in mind is the effect YouTube TV will have on the advertising industry. Connected TV viewership increased by 65% in 2016, and the ability to cast the service to your television will have advertisers interested in the immense potential of this new platform.
The over-the-top model puts more eyes on the biggest TV in the house, making ads more valuable, and allowing YouTube to charge more for ad space. In turn, advertisers gain access to advanced digital targeting for more effective ads and machine learning capabilities for better recommendations to keep users hooked. If the two sides can learn to come together here, advertisers will have no reason to choose TV over digital anymore.
What’s Holding Them Back
As with any new service, YouTube TV isn’t perfect, and it certainly isn’t complete. The price point doesn’t necessarily make it better than cable, but the diverse range of content offered over various devices makes it a compelling alternative.
Several gaps in content still make this an incomplete product for even the most basic content. The lack of Viacom programming eliminates channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon, which would be big draws for children and teens. The absence of Turner Broadcasting channels like CNN, TBS, and TNT, AMC, Discovery, Time Warner, and A+E also hurt the service’s overall selection.
The good news is that YouTube knows this and continues to try and add more channels that will help fill its current gaps. It also offers add-on channels, the first of which will be Stars, to help provide supplemental content.
YouTube TV will be a serious test against the power that the traditional television industry still holds. Can the new service overcome the problems all their counterparts have dealt with when it comes to bundling prices? The potential is there, it just needs to escape the anchors of the past.