Saturday, August 13, 2022

Report: YouTube Offer Streaming a la Carte

YouTube is planning to launch an online store for streaming video services and has renewed talks with entertainment companies about participating in the platform, according to The Wall Street Journal citing people close to the recent discussions.

The company hopes the new platform, which it is referring to internally as a “channel store” and which has been in the works for at least 18 months, could be available as early as this fall, some of the people said.

YouTube currently allows subscribers to YouTube TV, its $64.99-a-month online package of cable channels, to add on a subscription to services such as HBO Max. The new marketplace would allow consumers to choose streaming services a la carte through the main YouTube appYouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., will be joining the likes of Inc., Roku Inc. and Apple Inc., which all have their own hubs to sell streaming video services. With an array of apps now available, these tech giants are trying to position themselves as the go-to place for consumers to get access to all of their favorite movies and shows. Selling multiple services through a single app can make life easier for consumers.

Typically, companies with streaming hubs get a share of revenue from purchases within their marketplaces. YouTube is discussing splitting subscription revenue with streaming partners, although the terms may vary widely for each partner, according to people familiar with the situation. YouTube declined to comment.

For streaming video services, which are facing greater competition and slowing growth in the U.S., the YouTube store offers another avenue to get in front of potential customers. Companies are exploring a variety of new marketing and distribution strategies to boost sign-ups.

“They are making their services available in as many places as possible, so that they have as big a shot as possible of getting people,” said Bill Rouhana, chief executive of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc., which owns a large stable of free, ad-supported streaming channels.

There are trade-offs to consider for streaming services: partnering with other companies means having less potential revenue and less control over customers’ data.

Still, more streaming services are looking to bundle because it creates a better experience for consumers and they are less likely to cancel subscriptions, said Jeffrey Hirsch, president and chief executive of Starz, which has bundled its streaming offering with Walt Disney Co. in Latin America and Canal+ in France. “Simplicity is always a great thing for the consumer,” he said.

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