YouTube is getting into premium online television. Like, a subscription-based service that'll let you stream cable channels.
Now, Hulu has just confirmed it is doing the same thing. It basically wants to go after Dish's Sling TV and Sony's PlayStation Vue, both of which offer so-called "skinny bundles" of cable channels, which you can stream for rates starting at $20 a month. Bloomberg News claimed YouTube has been working on a similar streaming service that will offer skinny bundles, but YouTube has been developing the project since 2012.
However, YouTube is reportedly rushing things now that Hulu is getting into online TV. The service, which is expected to be called Unplugged, should launch by 2017. YouTube has already made infrastructure changes so that it can move forward. It is also targeting a $35-or-under price range. So far, YouTube has been unable to ink deals with major content players like NBCUniversal, CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox, and Viacom.
If you recall, Apple ran into the same roadblocks. It's long been rumoured to be working on a service that'll stream cable channels, but like Google-owned YouTube, it hasn't locked down any deals. Still, YouTube is mulling around different ideas in an effort to make Unplugged compelling to cord-cutters. It might sell theme packs of less-watched channels. For instance, a "lifestyle" bundle might include the Style Network.
Unplugged will of course be a paid service, and if successful, should become another source of revenue for YouTube, which so far relies on serving up adverts on videos as well as the new YouTube Red subscription plan that provides access to exclusive videos.