At a time when many viewers are complaining that the proliferation of streaming services is both expansive and hard to navigate, YouTube has rolled out an early version of PrimeTime Channels, which lets users buy subscriptions directly through YouTube.
YouTube says that more than 30 channels are already participation including Paramount’s Paramount Plus and Showtime, Starz, Epix, AMC Networks’ AMC Plus, Allblk, Shudder, Sundance Now and Acorn TV, TelevisaUnivision’s ViX Plus and Tastemade Plus.
More are on the way, including NBA League Pass, YouTube said.
“With more streaming options than ever before, it can get a little overwhelming jumping from app to app to find what you’re looking for,” Erin Teague, director of product management at YouTube, said in a blog post. “Well, that’s all about to change. With Primetime Channels, you will be able to sign up, browse and watch your favorite TV shows, movies and sports from streaming services.”
When a user subscribes to a streaming service, the content will be reflected in the familiar YouTube user interface. Primetime Channels homepages will feature shows and movies with curated trailers, behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews.
“People already come to YouTube to watch trailers for highly anticipated movies, or clips of scenes from their favorite TV episodes. Now you can continue watching directly on YouTube. And you will continue to have choice and control over your accounts with the ability to manage all of them in one place,” Teague said.
Many companies are likely to try to get involved as companies try to amalgamate, aggregate, curate and consolidate streaming options, including Comcast, Amazon, Roku and some smart TV makers.
In 2020, WarnerMedia decided that its direct-to-consumer streaming service HBO Max ought to be sold directly to consumers, rather than going through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels marketplace, and lost subscribers. HBO Max’s new owner, Warner Bros. Discovery, reversed that decision, opting to make it available to more potential customers through more outlets.
It remains to be seen interesting to see if the streaming leaders are willing to go into business with YouTube. Paramount Global, for one, is in.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with YouTube to offer customers of Paramount Plus another way to stream the content they love,” Jeff Shultz, chief strategy officer and business development officer, Paramount Streaming, said. "This new feature gives us the opportunity to expand our presence on YouTube, broadening our reach and giving consumers even more choice when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment." ■
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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