It’s commonplace now for us to hear about this war at the convergence points for the big tech firms. Amazon going into content and Google developing self driving cars. This sort of competition is what defines capitalistic markets right?
Anyways, that’s a different conversation.
But early last year, YouTube decided to throw is hat (finally) into the arena they should have broken into 3 years ago. Television. Following the likes of Apple who stated back in 2011 that they were going to “reinvent the TV experience”, YouTube TV stormed the scene in February 2017.
According to most analysts, YouTube TV, the video sharing giant’s latest offering, pretty much crushes Apple’s attempts at commandeering the TV into its ecosystem.
Launched officially in Feb 2017, the 1 year old YouTube TV has already built distribution deals with all the major networks and it’s very serious about waging a war on cable TV and any other TV entertainment providers for that matter. Opting out of lengthy contracts and absurd set up fees, they are doing everything the cable companies won’t.
Although they are doing away with the old TV business model, they haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Their approach to such quick success has been simple: Partner with all the major networks instead of relying solely on original content. The content being the baby…
The natural question that follows, is “Wait, why would YouTube partner with networks when they themselves have been trying to be a traditional network alternative for so many years?”
Because they learnt from Apple’s mistake. Whilst Apple has spent creative millions producing shows like Planet of the Apps strictly for their own channels, namely Apple Music, YouTube has realised that to solely depend on original content is too risky in a land grab situation. Not only do you need to convince the user to try your new service, but they also have to like the content- wait scratch that, they have to be OBSESSED with the content you’re providing.
YouTube TV on the other hand, partners with existing networks who already have dedicated audiences. Shows like Billions, New Girl and the NBA playoffs are all available on YouTube TV. They know that although YouTube was built on original content, to really take over the TV space quickly, it’s a lot easier and more efficient to partner with existing shows.
It’s a bit like opening a hotel, and outsourcing your food and beverage requirements to local establishments that already have a loyal customer base, and who can produce a better culinary experience at a fraction of the cost. A smart business move for a variety of commercial reasons.
But not to worry, YouTube haven’t completely fallen away from their roots of providing that extra level of real-ness to their content that has been essential to their success for so many years.
They’ve gone ahead and added some of their own YouTube sauce into the mix (Read: They show vlogs and behind the scenes footage of some of our favourite shows to make the experience even more engaging)
See below, for Billions (one of my personal favourite shows) behind the scenes content.
This is awesome. Where most brands would simply run an advertising awareness campaign, YouTube has recognised that one of its competitive advantages is that their users love behind the scenes and candid content.
That being said, YouTube TV currently loses $5 for every one of their estimated 300,000 subscribers according to some reports. (May 2018; Bernstein Research; Todd Juenge)
But in the grand scheme of things, does that really matter? Given that I currently pay £29 for NBA TV, and with YouTubeTV i’ll get that plus 59 more channels for the same price…. I mean it’s a no brainer.
The only thing that could be a worry for YouTube down the line is Netflix. They offer a phenomenal content experience with binge-worthy shows and already have their own buttons on TV remotes for Sony & Samsung devices. Something I don’t think they get enough credit for; they’ve made it so you’re only ever 1-click away from choosing Netflix over any other form of content and they’ve legitimised it as a real option to view content when on the big screen. One swift move from Netflix could render YouTube TV’s big play obsolete.
Watch this space.