This week’s announcement that YouTube has signed on 40 US TV partners marks an inflection point for the online video and TV markets. There has always been a logic to the idea that if YouTube could broker this type of deal then it could further bolster its position.
Several TV players are still holding out but if YouTube can get these deals done and also work on the device sports rights coverage (NFL mobile rights) then it is well placed to really shake up the landscape.
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Along with the TV content, YouTube TV can deliver a unique user experience leveraging its AI and search product features and competencies. The company owned by Alphabet possesses the IP and capital to potentially reimagine a hybrid online video and TV experience.
For this reason it must make it a priority to delight users with an awesome product experience to warrant the monthly subscription charge of $35. The price also includes access to wide range of content from partners, YouTube Red Content and unlimited DVR cloud storage.
During an earlier career in the linear Pay TV market – Network and Channels – it was always clear to me that the traditional business models were at complete loggerheads with consumer needs. Research showed time and time again that consumers wanted more choice (a la carte) as opposed to bundled pricing models.
Is this deal heading down that same path or will the personalisation and overall product experience overcome this consumer friction? Right now YouTube TV is being referenced to in the press as a “skinny bundle.”
The other question is whether this further audience consolidation and aggregation will have a material impact on the partners, especially with their respective OTT aspirations? The deal appears to have the potential to create a distribution leader, similar to what Facebook did with publishers while keeping the consumer on their platform.
One final point for context: TheWSJ reported this week that YouTube has eclipsed 1 billion hours of viewing a day, close to the 1.2 billion ours viewed on US TV. Along with the YouTube TV offering that brings us to interesting juncture and time will tell who are the winners and losers.