YouTube, the massive ad-supported streaming platform owned by Google, has reportedly explored setting up a subscription service hub similar to Amazon Channels.
According to The Information, YouTube has held talks with several key entertainment companies about offering their subscription streaming services through the YouTube platform.
Given the scale and audience size of the YouTube, the chance to sell subscription services on that platform could be attractive to CBS All Access, HBO Now, Showtime, Starz and others. Several of YouTube’s peers and competitors, including Amazon, Apple, Roku and Comcast have already launched similar platforms that allow consumers to consolidate access and billing for multiple streaming services.
Facebook was also considering a similar service, but The Information confirmed with the company that those plans were scrapped after initial tests.
When Google last week reported fourth-quarter earnings, CEO Sundar Pichai was asked about YouTube monetization levels – which are at approximately $7 or $8 per user based on 2019 revenue totals of $15 billion and an estimated user base of 2 billion. He said that both direct response ads and commerce (which could potentially include revenue sharing from selling subscription services) are two big potential growth areas for YouTube.
“So, looking across, I think, there is more room, significantly more room, over the mid- to long-term on monetization levels. And so, I think we see that as a big opportunity and are investing for it,” Pichai said according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
YouTube is far and away Google’s biggest video business. However, YouTube TV, the company’s virtual MVPD, has managed continued growth in a shifting market for live streaming TV services.
Pichai said YouTube TV now has more than 2 million paid subscribers. That reveal likely still puts YouTube TV behind Dish Network’s Sling TV – which ended the third quarter with 2.69 million subscribers – but ahead of AT&T TV Now, which finished 2019 with fewer than one million subscribers after losing another 219,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter.