YouTube TV arrives in 5 U.S. cities, will later add AMC Networks

YouTube TV offers a range of channels and brands. Image: Google

Google’s new live TV skinny bundle, YouTube TV, arrived Wednesday in five major U.S. markets: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, Google announced Wednesday.

The launch event last month was perhaps a little too late for Google to grab the NFL Thursday Night Football streaming rights for YouTube TV, but it will offer live sports streaming from the NBA, MLB, NFL and NCAA. For a no-contract $35 per month—free for the first month—a YouTube TV subscription includes more than 40 television networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, USA, FX, Disney Channel, E! and Bravo. On par with cable subscriptions, subscribers of YouTube TV can pay an extra fee to watch Showtime.

Programming from Time Warner and Viacom are notably missing from Wednesday’s announcement—Viacom was also left out of Hulu’s linear TV service as of March. But YouTube TV will add AMC Networks in the near future, indicating that Google will likely add more programming over time, just as Sling TV did. Bob Broussard, president of distribution for AMC Networks, told Multichannel News that AMC’s content attracts a younger demographic—many of whom view video on mobile devices.

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Related: YouTube TV gets lukewarm reception from analysts

If Viacom had followed through on the merger with CBS, its networks logically would have been included in YouTube TV and it would have retained ties to CBS’ broadcast TV content and live sports that would have made Viacom harder to shut out of skinny bundles.

Alan Wolk, an independent media analyst, said that YouTube TV and Hulu live will likely only represent a small size tier of the market, so financially, Viacom shouldn’t be too impacted.

“But the optics aren’t great given everything that’s been going on with [Viacom],” said Wolk, adding that advertisers will particularly take note that Viacom is not being included in the new services targeting cord-nevers and cord-cutting millennials.

The new streaming television service will also offer BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE tv and BBC World News in the coming months.

Reporter Chris Welch of The Verge noted that Apple users who sign up for YouTube TV from an iOS device will be charged an extra $4.99 more than what Android or web users are charged. One YouTube TV membership can be shared between six accounts, with each account getting its own unique viewer recommendations and cloud DVR with no storage size limits. One household can watch up to three streams at a time, and recordings can be saved for up to nine months.