YouTube could be entering the fray of streaming-TV services with a subscription for an online-only bundle of cable channels called “Unplugged.”
The project is “one of the online video giant’s biggest priorities,” Bloomberg reported Wednesday, saying that the service could be ready to debut as early as next year. Unnamed sources told Bloomberg that YouTube has been talking to networks including NBC, CBS, Fox and Viacom with the intention of offering a “skinny bundle” of a handful of channels.
The sources were cited anonymously, since YouTube isn’t ready to spill the beans yet (and declined to comment for the Bloomberg article). But it’s worth noting that YouTube put its toes in the water of subscription services when it rolled out its $9.99 a month YouTube Red service last fall. Bloomberg’s sources also said YouTube was looking into other, more tailored bundles, focusing on a genre like comedy, or around viewers’ interests.
If YouTube did take the plunge, it would join an increasingly crowded marketplace of TV options for cord-cutters. Everyone from Amazon to Hulu are taking on more established providers like Netflix and Sling TV in trying to figure out how to capture the growing number of customers looking for alternatives to cable.