YouTube reportedly steps on the gas to develop pay-TV channel bundle, 'Unplugged'

YouTube has been working on assembling a live-streamed bundle of premium TV channels called "Unplugged" for the last four years and has recently prioritized the project.

So said Bloomberg, which reports that the Google-owned (NASDAQ: GOOG) online video subsidiary is in talks with Comcast/NBCU, 21st Century Fox, Disney and CBS Corp. about securing programming, but has not yet signed any deals for channels.

YouTube reportedly wants to pursue the skinny bundling strategy of packaging the major broadcast networks with a smattering of top cable channels and keep the monthly price point below $35.

Bloomberg said the platform could launch as soon as next year. The news service quoted YouTube executes as saying that Unplugged is currently one of the company's biggest priorities.

The report comes after Hulu confirmed that it is launching a live-streamed skinny bundle next year. However, Hulu already has channels secured from two of its corporate parents, Fox and Disney.

Notably, other online giants not affiliated with major programming divisions — Apple and Amazon — are also working on live-streamed pay-TV services, but are struggling to secure content deals.

An operating unit of Alphabet Inc.'s Google Internet business, YouTube is reportedly looking for subscription-based models to offset the huge but volatile revenue base of its massive ad-supported platform. The company debuted subscription service Red last fall. 

"We aim to provide more choice to YouTube fans -- more ways for them to engage with creators and each other, and more ways for them to get great content," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in an letter to Alphabet shareholders last week. "We've started down this journey with specialized apps like YouTube Kids, as well as through our YouTube Red subscription service."

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story

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