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Want to watch everything on YouTube? Now you can, here’s how
Like Prime Video and Apple TV before it, YouTube will begin incorporating other streaming services
➡️ The Shortcut skinny: everything on YouTube
👀 YouTube starts hosting subscription services like Paramount Plus, AMC+, Shudder, and more under the moniker “Primetime Channels”
📺 35 services have signed on for the launch
🥸 Content from streaming services will blend with YouTube creator content in both search results and recommendations
📝 You’ll be able to sign up for services on YouTube.com, but not the app, and there is no way to link external accounts to your YouTube account yet
You’ll have to pay for each Primetime Channel
🍾 The service is set to launch today on the Movies and Shows storefront
YouTube is taking a crack at being more than just your hub for mukbangs and regurgitated TikToks, and will now include content from other streaming services like Paramount Plus or Shudder, with 35 partners signed up for launch, according to The Verge.
Subscribing to them will still cost money, but you’ll be able to do so right from the YouTube interface, with a green text banner beneath a video link inviting you to watch premium videos on services you are subscribed to, or “Pay to watch” if you haven’t yet subscribed.
Primetime Channels is a work in progress, however, as signing up for a new service can only be done on the website and not the YouTube app. Instead, you’ll be given a QR code or URL — similar to other streaming services on your set top box of choice The company did confirm users who’ve signed up through YouTube TV will be able to transfer the service.
According to YouTube’s blog post showcasing the new service, you can sign up at the YouTube Movies & Shows hub page, though as of this writing, the “early version of Primetime Channels” doesn’t appear to be up yet.
🛠️ How will it work?
YouTube says it will be presenting its streaming service partners’ content similarly to any other YouTube channel — you’ll just get there by clicking on the Movies & TV (rather than Subscriptions), where you’ll then be presented with a homepage full of featured content and, hopefully, more detailed sort options.
Content from streaming services — whether you subscribe or not — will begin to populate both your home screen recommendations and will appear in search. The service will include bonus features, though it sounds like they’ll just be right there on each service’s homepage in a curated section or in search results and recommendations, which is an interesting approach, versus tucking them away in a Blu-ray-style menu (as in the case of Apple TV) or submenu (like with Prime Video).
It’s not the first app to do this, of course. Both Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV (the app, not the streaming box. Or the streaming service) have other streaming services rolled into them — they even refer to them as channels.
But YouTube has a massive user count advantage that may make it the ideal destination for these services. According to Statista, YouTube had somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.2 billion users. Compare that to Netflix, who most regard as a streaming behemoth, whose worldwide install base sits at a paltry-by-comparison 223 million after its Q3 report saw it make up for lost ground during the previous two fiscal quarters.
Whether its users, who go there largely for short-form videos from independent creators, will also want to use the platform to watch hour-long AAA shows or full movies, remains to be seen. It could be that mixing TV shows into recommendations and search results will be a turn off. In his report, The Verge’s David Pierce observes that the right blend of creator content related to a show you just watched could be incredibly compelling. I could see savvy streaming companies forging new, more intimate partnerships with those creators and influencers to create specific types of content for a show, making this potentially one of the most interesting implementations of streaming hubs yet.
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