February 28, 2017 / 11:46 PM / 9 months ago

YouTube unveils live TV service for cord cutters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube will launch a live TV service featuring U.S. broadcast networks and cable channels to attract young fans of online videos to a pay television package, YouTube executives said on Tuesday.

Visitors stand in front of a logo of YouTube at the YouTube Space Tokyo, operated by Google, in Tokyo February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Shohei Miyano

The new offering, called YouTube TV, will compete with other services fighting to attract mobile-loving younger audiences who dropped pricier, traditional cable and satellite packages or never signed up in the first place.

YouTube TV will be delivered over the internet and debut in the coming months at a cost of $35 a month for six accounts, YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki told reporters at an event in Los Angeles.

YouTube TV subscribers will be able to watch original programming that appears on YouTube Red, a subscription service that includes movies and shows starring popular YouTube video creators.

The development of the live TV package is an attempt to sell a new service to viewers hooked on YouTube’s free videos.

“Millennials love great TV content, but what we’ve seen is they don’t want to watch it in the traditional setting,” Wojcicki said.

YouTube TV will feature Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ABC, CBS Corp’s (CBS.N) CBS, 21st Century Fox’s (FOXA.O) Fox and Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) NBC plus cable channels including ESPN, USA and FX. It will launch initially in select U.S. markets.

The offering will compete with services such as Dish Network Corp’s (DISH.O) Sling TV, AT&T’s (T.N) DirecTV Now and Sony Corp’s (6758.T) PlayStation Vue. Those packages sell for roughly $20 to $65 a month. Hulu also is developing a live TV service.

All of the live digital services provide TV networks an avenue to make up for their loss of customers to “cord cutting,” or the dropping of pay TV. Channel owners say they earn as much or more for each subscriber on a live digital service as they do through cable or satellite packages.

YouTube executives said they aimed to make the YouTube TV app easy to use across mobile devices, desktop computers or an Internet-connected televisions. Users will be able to record programming on a cloud DVR and watch it for up to nine months. Engineers also are incorporating technology from Google, such as the ability to voice search TV shows through a Google Home device.

“Even though we are in this golden age of content, the current TV age isn’t doing it justice,” said Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer. “We feel we are in a great position to reinvent the way TV works.”

Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Andrew Hay

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