I might be biased when I say this, but it seems like Google will do whatever it takes to force YouTube TV down your throat, even if it has to mix it with a little bit of what you love to make it palatable make. Well, I’m not talking about cable channels per se, but rather the company’s relentless need with YouTube TV and Google TV to get its users to sign up for other streaming services.
In both core experiences, many service providers like HBO Max, Peacock, and others are ubiquitous, and you’re forced to watch content from them often, even in situations where you haven’t signed up for these additional services for their “add-on packages.” Google TV lets you hide them from the home screen via the device’s settings, but YouTube TV is the worst culprit.
A new Wall Street Journal report suggests that for the past 18 months, Google has had a plan in the works to integrate these streaming competitors and partners into its core YouTube app experience. No, I’m not kidding you at all. You might think I’m exaggerating quite a bit with the impact this will have on YouTube itself and how you use it, but imagine for a second you’re a premium subscriber and you’re seeing ads to sign up for each and every one Sign up for any add-on pack or any subscription service.
Worst of all, imagine seeing content you’d like to click and watch, only to find out it’s from one of those services you’re not subscribed to. Just like your Chromecast with Google TV, it’s extra fluff and constant ad crap you don’t want or need to force-feed — a paid, valued member of YouTube Premium.
As streaming services start losing subscribers in droves, they’re looking to go where all the action is to win back that user base — YouTube. Because Google wants to “coexist” with its competitors to give its users more choice (and avoid antitrust lawsuits, of course), it’s ready to infect YouTube with a number of things you certainly haven’t paid for or are asking for.
Apple, Amazon and others are already doing this, so I may be overly critical, but I just don’t get the point. Isn’t YouTube TV a breeding ground for these types of partnerships and content distribution? If it were as successful as Google hoped, streaming providers wouldn’t be migrating to YouTube itself, but here we are.
“They’re making their services available in as many places as possible so that they can reach as many people as possible,” said Bill Rouhana, chief executive officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc., which owns a large stable of free, ad-supported streaming channels .
However, The Verge, which originally reported on the Wall Street Journal article, seems to think it’s the other way around. Perhaps Google needs its competitors to keep YouTube users engaged with movies, TV shows, and more since a lot of people just don’t buy content there. Whether that’s true or not depends on how Google sees its success. Premium itself brings in a lot of money for the search giant, but as the company tries to steer away from ad revenue as a revenue stream due to its past litigation, these reports and its future actions certainly tell us where it stands. However, it’s worth noting that YouTube content like this that you buy also integrates directly with Google TV. So if you buy them on one, you’ll have them on the other.
YouTube wants to be the end-all-be-all of channel stores, and it might be able to do it, but to me it looks like all these competing companies are starting to continue the cycle of traditional cable once more, just for the modern times. Shouldn’t cord cutting be about breaking free from this model? If so, why are we closing the circle?
A final note is that content creators on the YouTube platform must now compete for viewers’ time against traditional Hollywood media and big-budget films. However, this has always been the case, just not all in the same place. Something about that just feels a bit disrespectful to those who made YouTube what it is today, don’t you think? Hey, at least you have everything in one place, right? At least until Google has another contractual dispute with a content provider.