According to a Wall Street Journal report, YouTube is testing free ad-supported TV channels that feature material from specific media companies.

There will be a “hub” where you can choose what to watch, which is similar to services like Pluto TV, Roku’s Live TV channels, or the experiences built into Televisions from companies like Samsung, LG, and Vizio.

According to earnings reports from Vizio and Roku, who make more money from advertising and subscription commissions than they do from selling hardware, the idea has been a component of a successful business strategy for some of the other players in the market. According to the most current reports, Roku (PDF) earns more than $44 per year, while Vizio (PDF) averages $27 per user annually.

The tests were verified by an unidentified YouTube spokesperson to the Journal, and according to the story, the feature may become more widespread this year. The company is allegedly collaborating with Lionsgate and A&E, the latter of which is the proprietor of channels like History, FYI, and Lifetime.

In 2022, YouTube added free television programs that were supported by advertising to its catalog, demonstrating its expertise with providing premium ad-supported content. It had been doing the same thing with pictures for years at the time. Through Pluto TV, the company last year introduced free channels to its Google TV live tab.

The paid program YouTube TV offers a comparable drop-in-and-watch experience with traditional television channels. YouTube revealed over the summer that 5 million people had signed up for YouTube TV. It’s always conceivable that the YouTube TV brand will be used to promote the free channels.

The experiments take place at a time when many other streaming services, like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, or Peacock, are launching more affordable or free ad-supported tiers.


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