Young people in the United States have already made the switch from traditional television to streaming services. The amount of time these folks spend watching TV has been dropping steadily for at least six years, while consumption of streaming video has been growing at a torrid pace. And this group is increasingly unlikely to pay for television or own a TV set.
Into this world comes YouTube TV, an attempt to marry the world’s most popular platform for streaming video with the programming of traditional television. For $35 a month, subscribers will get access to the four major broadcast networks and a bundle of over 40 cable channels, including key sports properties like ESPN and Fox Sports 1.
Of course, there are plenty of big gaps in YouTube TV’s current offering. While the goal is to capture the attention of fickle youth, the service won’t carry Viacom channels like MTV or Comedy Central, at least not for the time being. Showtime is available for an additional charge, but HBO isn’t yet. At launch, the service will only be offered in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with the promise of more to come soon; YouTube is still working out deals with local affiliates in cities across the US.