The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant’s biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017, one of the people said. YouTube executives have discussed these plans with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., but have yet to secure any rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
YouTube, a unit of Alphabet Inc.’s main Google Internet business, is pursuing subscriptions for premium video to complement the largest ad-supported video site in the world. YouTube introduced its first paid subscription service, Red, last fall. Unplugged would bring more premium content onto YouTube’s web service and mobile apps, grabbing more viewing time and generating more non-advertising revenue.
YouTube has been working on an online cable package since at least 2012, one of the people said, but these plans have taken on new urgency in the past few months.
Meanwhile, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins yesterday confirmed reports that first appeared over the weekend that they are going to be adding live TV for subscribers starting next year. The live content will include sports, events and news, and getting it won't require having a cable TV subscription. Hopkins didn't give any details about what their live-TV bundles would look like or what they would cost, however the New York Times reported that Hulu execs believe $40 a month would be the right price for a live-TV and on-demand content bundle.