By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – YouTube announced Tuesday it would begin selling a television service that bundles several popular broadcast and cable channels.
YouTube TV will pit the most popular online video platform against giant cable companies like Comcast. YouTube predicted the service will launch in the spring and the cheapest bundle of channels will cost $35 per month.
The most basic package will include about 36 channels. Packages include the major broadcast networks, Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as cable channels owned by those companies such as ESPN and Fox News.
Companies that entirely focused on cable television, like Viacom, which owns MTV, and Time Warner, which owns CNN, are not yet represented, but YouTube said deals are still in the works.
YouTube TV will also grant access to the many series produced by the platform’s advertisement-free YouTube Red channel.
“We’re bringing the best of the YouTube experience to live TV,” wrote YouTube TV’s product management director Christian Oestlien in an announcement. “To do this, we’ve worked closely with our network and affiliate partners to evolve TV for the way we watch today.”
By muscling into the world of live television, YouTube is attempting to merge the realm of online streaming with traditional televised media.
Unlike most other options available, YouTube TV will be available as an app for mobile devices or for televisions outfitted with a Google Chromecast. The project, which has been rumored for years, has the potential to alter the field if successful.
“It’s live TV designed for the YouTube generation—those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments,” Oestlien continued.
YouTube TV will first launch in the largest American markets, including Los Angeles and Philadelphia before the company expects to “quickly expand” to other cities across the country.