The company announced a live and on-demand TV service called “YouTubeTV” on Tuesday. The subscription, which will cost $35 a month for a family plan of up to six accounts, is expected to launch in the next few months.
Subscribers will have access to up to 40 networks, as well as YouTube creator content. Channels include all broadcast channels and cable channels like USA, FX, Freeform, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Users can add Showtime and soccer programming for an additional fee.
ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports. That represents a substantial portion of sports content– indeed almost all of it in addition to the broadcast networks. TechCrunch confirms that YouTubeTV will include the regional sports networks from Comcast and FOX.
Sadly, like many other streaming bundles, it has gaps. YouTube TV, as it’s called, will be missing channels from Viacom, including big names like Comedy Central and MTV. It also won’t have programming from Turner Broadcasting, meaning you won’t be able to get CNN, TBS, and TNT. AMC Networks, Discovery Communications, and A+E Networks are also missing as of the launch announcement.
The (at least initial) omission of TBS and TNT will be a non-starter for NBA fans, but if this takes off, then
CBS-Viacom [Edit: Just Viacom– they never merged with CBS] and Turner will have no choice but to join in.
Why might this work better than the other options (Playstation Vue, Sling TV, DIRECTV Now)? Well, Vue is the best of the bunch, but it is just now getting adoption among mainstream consumers. YouTube, however, has brand recognition, it’s built upon mountains of streaming bandwidth, and it brings with it everything else on YouTube. The only problem I see, which sounds like it will be a short-lived one, is that it will require a Chromecast to beam to your TV. Once Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku join the party, it might be game over (of course, many smart TVs already have YouTube built in).
YouTubeTV will launch first in markets where it can strike deals with local broadcast affiliates. For what it’s worth, Philly was one of the original markets for PlayStation Vue, so I would think we’d be included here, too.