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 executives have discussed these plans with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., but have yet to secure any rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Sources say YouTube has been working towards this since 2012 but plans have 'taken on new urgency' over the past few months.
“We aim to provide more choice to YouTube fans -- more ways for them to engage with creators and each other, and more ways for them to get great content,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive officer, wrote in an letter to Alphabet shareholders last week. “We’ve started down this journey with specialized apps like YouTube Kids, as well as through our YouTube Red subscription service.”
YouTube is looking a few different ways of packaging channels. One way is to offer a 'skinny' bundle with the four U.S. broadcast networks and a few popular cable channels. Another possibility is offering less watched TV channels via theme based groups. For example, a comedy bundle might include 3 or 4 channels such as Comedy Central. YouTube would charge one price for the main bundle and smaller monthly fees for each additional theme based group.
Apple has been working on a similar service for quite some time but has not been able to reach the necessary deals with content providers. It will be interesting to see if the company accelerates its efforts as YouTube and Hulu, as announced earlier today, get closer to launching their services.
Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.