With the release of its ad-free subscription service and the exclusive content that comes with it, YouTube has turned itself into an emerging Netflix competitor, and it doesn’t plan on stopping there. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the company is working on yet another subscription service, known as Unplugged, which will take it into unfamiliar territory by offering bundled television channels that users can stream online. If the report is correct, this would make YouTube a direct competitor to both Netflix and the cable industry.
We’re barely into 2016 and already it appears the future of television will truly take off in 2017. After reports, and a confirmation, that Hulu would offer a broadcast TV package via online streaming in early 2017, Google’s YouTube appears to be gearing up to do the same thing. The new service will be reportedly called YouTube Unplugged and debut at some point in 2017, according to Bloomberg. YouTube has yet to secure much in the way of agreements for actual content, Bloomberg says. Nevertheless, the company has met with major networks including NBCUniversal, CBS, and Fox, as well as Viacom the company behind channels like Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1. It’s not clear what kind of service YouTube hopes to roll out in 2017. One hope is to offer a so-called ‘skinny bundle’ with the major networks and a bunch of other specialty channels. Unless YouTube can strike some unexpected deals, Unplugged will probably include something similar to Sling TV, with content such as AMC, CNN, the Disney Channel, ESPN, various Fox properties, the History Channel, TNT, and others.