It seems that Hulu won’t be the only streaming powerhouse looking to jump on the live TV bandwagon next year, as YouTube has allegedly targeted 2017 for the launch of its own “Unplugged” streaming service. According to Bloomberg, the service has been in the works since 2012, but Google has had difficulty getting major TV networks such as CBS, Fox and NBC on board.
It hardly seems surprising that Big Media has been resistant to come to any agreement with YouTube, since they seem to believe they can force Internet content providers to pay more for access to their channels than traditional media companies like Comcast. This, of course, would make it nearly impossible for such services to compete with cable outlets despite having lower overhead (no need to make set-top boxes or send out repairmen to fix connection issues for example). Moreover, Google’s streaming juggernaut would seem to be at a disadvantage compared to Hulu, in which major TV networks Fox, ABC and NBC already have a stake.
Nevertheless, it’s impossible to ignore YouTube’s broad viewer base and Google’s massive online presence. 2017 should be a very interesting year for live TV streaming over the Internet.