YouTube is experimenting with new programming by hosting a network of commercial-supported television channels. The company is now in talks with a number of content providers about streaming TV series and movies on its platform. Although it is only in the testing phase at the moment, it may one day be made available to the general public at no cost.
A YouTube representative confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the company is conducting a limited test in which some users are given access to free, ad-supported channels. Adding free and ad-supported channels might be a game-changer, given the platform’s already substantial ad revenue.
YouTube is currently in negotiations for a 45 percent cut of the ad-revenue, which is on par with its arrangement with content providers on the platform. It’s uncharted ground for YouTube, but other firms like Roku and Samsung have been offering free TV channels financed by advertisements for quite some time. One way YouTube could stand apart is by providing consumers with simple access to a wide range of other content on the site.
The new multi-year arrangement was negotiated to provide NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels beginning in 2023 is just one example of the many things YouTube has done to bolster its programming in recent years. The company has expanded with the introduction of YouTube TV, a standalone online TV streaming service with more than a hundred channels that is similar to what you would get from a cable or satellite provider in your area. The site has moved out into short-form video in addition to the traditional user-created video.
In an effort to rival TikTok, it launched Shorts a year ago, and the move has been successful. After making changes to its YouTube Partner Program, YouTube has begun the process of distributing ad income to Shorts creators, suggesting that this year could be even better.