Bloomberg reports that YouTube is preparing to launch a new subscription video service called “Unplugged” that will see it stream bundled cable TV channel packages to users online. That compares to the company’s current subscription offerings that simply offer enhanced features like ad-free and offline playback for its regular video service.
The report claims YouTube is in talks with most major media companies that would be necessary to build such a service, some of which include Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp. And while it’s yet to secure rights with any, according to the report, it’s already started building out the tech necessary for the service ahead of a launch planned for as early as next year:
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The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant’s biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017, one of the people said… YouTube has been working on an online cable package since at least 2012, one of the people said, but these plans have taken on new urgency in the past few months. Christian Oestlien and Jonathan Zepp are among top YouTube executives working on Unplugged, the people added.
The report continues by noting that YouTube is exploring a few different models for the service. One could offer bundles with a mix of popular broadcast network shows and cable tv channels, and another that could see it offer TV channels organized by themes.
YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for these theme-based groups, one of the people said.
Bloomberg has more on YouTube’s plans for the service, which it notes is similar to video services in the works by Apple and others.