Google launches YouTube TV in challenge to major networks
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Google launches YouTube TV in challenge to major networks

YouTube is branching out from makeup and video game tutorials to debut its very own streaming TV service, creatively named YouTube TV. The subscription package costs $35 / month, and for that, you get 40 channels. As of right now, the service will only be available in a few U.S. cities, and many of the biggest broadcasters – like HBO, AMC, and TBS – aren’t signed up. That means, no Game of Thrones. But – even if it’s missing a few fan-favourites – Google thinks it can tempt people on to the platform.

According to James McQuivey, analyst at research and advisory firm Forester, YouTube TV could make its way into people’s viewing habits by offering three things that “cable TV has previously been best at”. These are: Live TV; cloud-based digital video recording; and sports.

The thing that’s particularly notable about YouTube TV’s proposition is that it signals a shift in the industry: big broadcasters are willing to give a digital platform their most treasured possession: the first showing of live TV shows.

According to McQuivey, this lets TV networks show that “they have a sense of where the world’s going”. And it also gives them the power to help dictate how the digital TV revolution continues.

That means YouTube TV will cost pretty much the same amount as cable, but for slightly less content. In this way, it won’t add to cord-cutting; rather, it’s a service aimed at people who wouldn’t have been cable TV viewers in the first place, but might now want some of the benefits associated with it, like first watch shows and live sports:

“Rather than a substitute for cable, this is part of a solution a younger viewer might build that includes YouTube TV, Netflix, and Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus. All of it adds up to roughly a cable bill and all of it drives revenue back to the TV programmers, even if it's not the juicy guarantees that cable TV used to deliver.”

The result is that YouTube TV might not change the world – but is, in fact, a reflection of how the world has already changed.

Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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