YouTube Makes Virtual MVPD Play

Google will look to grab the eyeballs and dollars of millennials with its new YouTube TV virtual MVPD offering, launching later this year.

The service will feature 40 channels of cable networks including ESPN, FX, and USA Network as well as broadcast networks CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who spoke Tuesday during at a Los Angeles press conference that was simulcast to YouTube offices around the country including New York and San Francisco.

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The no-contract service, targeted directly at millennials who are increasingly viewing video content on smartphones and other digital platforms, will cost $35 a month and will provide six separate accounts – each with an unlimited cloud DVR storage. In addition to having access to a personal DVR, each account will also be equipped with a unique set of recommendations. YouTube TV subs will be able to watch up to three concurrent streams at a time, Christian Oestlien, product management director at YouTube, explained in this blog post, which also noted that YouTube TV will initially be offered in "the largest U.S. markets and will quickly expand to cover more cities across the country."

Access to original video content from the YouTube Red subscription service is included in the $35 price.

Notably, the YouTube service also includes access to regional sports networks such as  Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet. Early on, YouTube will also let subs add-on Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus for an additional charge.

Per the FAQ, YouTube TV will work everywhere in the U.S., though access to live local broadcast networks will vary depending on the user’s physical zip code when accessing the app. All national channels, like ESPN and  Fox News and DVR recordings will be accessible everywhere subs travel in the U.S.  YouTube TV subs will also need to sign in from their home location at least once every three months “or their account will be paused.” Subs must also sign in from their home location at least once each month or Major League Baseball content will become unavaialle until the customer signs up again at his or her home location again.

The cloud DVR component will let YouTube TV subscribers store shows and movies for nine months, and will support for a wide range of devices, including Web browsers (Chrome browsers via, Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, Chromecast streaming adapters and TVs with Chromecast capabilities built in. Additional connected TV devices and smart TVs will support the service later this year. 

“Millennials don’t want to watch content in the traditional setting,” Wojcicki said. “They want to watch TV on their own terms.”

YouTube TV is the latest virtual MVPD to hit a increasingly crowded market that includes AT&T’s DirecTVNow, Dish’s Sling TV, fuboTV, and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.

RELATED: fuboTV Launches Beta of New, Bigger OTT-TV Service

Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, said consumers will be able to seamlessly move between the phone and the TV screen via Google Chromecast. “We’re in a great position to reinvent how TV works,” he said.

Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner contributed to this story.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.