TV aerials - your days are numbered.
YouTube is set to join the TV streaming race with its own subscription-based channel offering. Rumoured to be titled 'YouTube Unplugged', it will launch in 2017, giving viewers a range of TV channel bundles.
Anonymous sources familiar with the new service have outlined Unplugged to Bloomberg, suggesting that YouTube has already met with major US media groups including Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp. to discuss rights agreements.
It's believed that competition from the likes of Amazon, Sony and Apple has caused YouTube to step up its own preparations. "YouTube has been working on an online cable package since at least 2012, one of the people said, but these plans have taken on new urgency in the past few months," writes Bloomberg.
YouTube has already launched its first subscription service, Red, in the US. Providing users with an ad-free YouTube experience, it also gives viewers access to YouTube exclusives made by PewDiePie, Lilly Singh and Lazer Team (us neither). Red will also pave the way for YouTube's own music streaming service, with details expected to be announced later this year.
One major hurdle Unplugged currently faces is in securing the rights to TV content at a rate consumers will want to pay for: aiming for a subscription rate of less than $35 per month, YouTube is apparently struggling to secure deals from major content providers at an affordable rate.
Whatever package they launch in 2017, one thing's guaranteed - their potential audience figures will be huge, with 185 million unique viewers expected to be using YouTube in 2018.
Your move, Netflix.