YouTube is said to be making headway on an online television service that doesn’t require a cable subscription (via The Information). With a launch in the next six to nine months, expected partners include ABC, CBS, and ESPN at this point. It was first reported back in May that the “Unplugged” service would cost under $35 per month.
The monthly subscription is said to include a basic bundle of key channels, with YouTube offering additional packages for other add-on channels. Deals have yet to be finalized, but ABC, CBS, and ESPN are “firmly expected” to be included. Bloomberg previously reported that Google is also in negotiation with NBC, Viacom, and Fox networks.
To stand apart from competing services — like the recently launched PlayStation Vue on Android — topic specific YouTube channels will be included in the bundle. For instance, a channel about home improvement could take the place of niche cable television channel HGTV.
The report today also notes that the existing paid YouTube Red subscription has yet to take off in a significant way. Despite offering an ad-free YouTube experience, offline video, and a complimentary Google Play Music subscription, the service has been struggling to attract subscribers. Likely at fault is the lack of critically acclaimed original programming. Just last week, the free trial of Red was extended from 30 days to four months to attract more customers.
YouTube’s main sell with the rumored TV package is to millennials who like live television in addition to YouTube. The service is expected to launch in the next six to nine months if everything goes as planned.