According to reports, YouTube is in negotiations with media giants to include their TV series and films in a hub of ad-supported channels. It is already experimenting with the notion of gauging audience interest. A credible source said, the platform may make the hub available to additional users later this year.
If the idea is implemented, YouTube will join a market known in the industry as Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television, or FAST. Roku, Fox’s Tubi, and Pluto TV, which is owned by Paramount Global, are among the players in this market (formerly ViacomCBS). YouTube, depending on the content it delivers and how the proposed channels are put up, may wind up drawing more attention away from those services.
YouTube acknowledged to the Journal that it is testing ad-supported channels on a small number of subscribers. “We’re always looking for new ways to provide viewers with a central destination where they can more easily find, watch, and share the content that matters most to them,” said a spokesperson.
For the test, the service is believed to have collaborated with Lionsgate, A+E Networks, and FilmRise. Such channels provide a method for media businesses to generate revenue from content that might otherwise fail.
YouTube already has ad-supported movies, but the new center might provide consumers with a larger selection of free movies and series to watch. Its channels might function similarly to Pluto TV. That platform includes channels for repeats of popular shows, as well as reality shows, live news, and even sports.
The rumored foray into FAST is consistent with YouTube’s ambition of extending outside the material that has historically been linked with the platform. It moved premium streaming channels from YouTube TV to its main app in November. Among the earliest Primetime Channels were Showtime, Starz, Paramount+, and AMC+. More recently, YouTube secured exclusive rights to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package in a multibillion-dollar seven-year contract.
According to a credible information, data and market measurement firm, YouTube already has the largest proportion of TV viewing time among streaming services in the United States. In November, it outperformed Netflix for the third time in a row, with 8.8 percent of viewing time. Initiatives such as the FAST channels and the Sunday Ticket might help it get greater mindshare and audience attention.
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