YouTube Prepping Skinny TV Bundle – Report

Following right on the heels of Hulu, YouTube is reportedly looking to introduce its own live TV subscription service, Unplugged, as early as next year.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

May 4, 2016

2 Min Read
YouTube Prepping Skinny TV Bundle – Report

YouTube Inc. is the latest big video provider that's looking to plunge deeper into the OTT space with a live TV skinny bundle. As first reported by Bloomberg, YouTube is now developing a subscription service, Unplugged, that would offer customers a bundle of broadcast and cable channels streamed over the Internet.

YouTube declined to comment on the report.

A unit of Alphabet Inc. 's main Google Internet business, YouTube is apparently pursuing a premium video subscription service to complement the world's largest ad-supported video website. YouTube already launched its first subscription service, Red, last fall. Unplugged would offer more premium content, combining programming from broadcasters, cable channels and other major media companies.

But it's not yet clear which media players will participate in the proposed service. While YouTube executives have reportedly discussed their plans for Unplugged with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)’s NBCUniversal LLC , Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA), 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), they have not yet secured any programming rights, sources told Bloomberg.

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YouTube officials, who have been working on some kind of online TV package for at least four years, also haven't decided on the exact business model for Unplugged yet. Under one scenario, Unplugged would offer a skinny TV bundle with the four US broadcast networks and some popular cable channels for less than $35 a month. Under another scenario, YouTube would offer a bundle of less popular networks as well as smaller packages of channels organized around themes, charging one fee for the main bundle and extra, smaller monthly fees for the theme-based groups.

This YouTube news follows reports that Hulu LLC , another big online video player, is planning to launch its own subscription online video service in early 2017 that would compete with linear services from traditional pay-TV operators. The new Hulu offering, which was confirmed by the company earlier today, is targeting a monthly price of about $40. (See Hulu Eyes Cable-Like Bundle – Report.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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