Streaming Wars

Report: YouTube is considering adding subscriptions for external channels

The service would follow similar offerings by Amazon and Apple.

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YouTube might be evolving into something of a more complete entertainment hub. The company is contemplating a move to allow users to subscribe to a variety of external media channels through their YouTube accounts, according to a report by The Information.

YouTube’s cable subscription service, YouTube TV, has brought in more than 2 million subscribers since its creation.

YouTube would be late to the game — Giving users the option to sign up for outside entertainment subscriptions through your website isn’t exactly a novel idea. Amazon debuted this idea with its Prime Video Channels back in 2016, and now Prime offers more than 200 add-on channel subscriptions. Apple offers similar services.

Right now YouTube allows users to sign up for a few outside service providers, such as Showtime, but now the company is considering the expansion of those services.

Facebook just backed out of this idea — Facebook also tested out this idea; last year, for example, users could purchase an inexpensive subscription to CollegeHumor through the site. But initial testing of this model must not have gone very well for Facebook, because the company pulled most of its programming last month to cut costs.

PlayStation also recently killed its subscription TV service, Vue, after five years of operation.

Could it be profitable? — YouTube is going to need to be precise in its strategy here if it wants to convince consumers to pay for external media through its website. Programming costs are very high for this kind of program. YouTube is lucky to have Google’s army of marketeers behind any and all of its ideas.

Furthermore, in cases like Amazon’s Channels subscriptions, costs to the end-user are almost identical to those offered by the services themselves. If YouTube follows a similar model, it will take even more to convince users to subscribe through the site.