If you start your day wondering what's trending on YouTube, then you know you never quite know what you're going to find. It could be a video of a toddler taking his first euphoric steps. It could be footage of a tornado whipping through the plains.
No matter what's trending on YouTube, you may have gotten the idea by now that YouTube trends toward a younger audience – and you're right. Now YouTube is taking a big gamble on its faithful following by unrolling TV service in the next few months.
YouTube has long hinted at this foray and industry experts have long been anticipating it. But everyone seems to be wondering: will millennials really ante up for online programming?
YouTube TV offers the basics
People who sign up for YouTube will have access to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and about 35 of these networks' cable channels, including Disney Channel, ESPN, MSNBC and National Geographic. Through a mobile app, viewership will be available on smartphones, tablets, laptops and TV screens for $35 a month.
As an enticement, YouTube TV will offer subscribers a DVR tool to record programs and an unlimited amount of cloud storage. The only hitch? The recorded content will be deleted after nine months.
The app itself will be highly personalized – and actually, ideal for families. One monthly subscription will open up six individual accounts, where people can store their profile and receive recommendations based on their viewing preferences. This part of the system is expected to improve as YouTube monitors what people watch (and avoid) and tailors the recommendations accordingly.
YouTube TV emphasizes sports
Despite these “family friendly” attributes, YouTube TV is being marketed as a decidedly young person's media choice.
“This is TV reimagined for the YouTube generation,” Christian Oestlien, director of product management at YouTube, told Time magazine.
He just hopes millennials see the proverbial glass as half-full rather than half-empty. On the downside, some offerings are noticeably absent from the lineup, including A&E Networks, AMC networks, CNN, Comedy Central, MTV, TBS and TNT.
This is why YouTube executives are banking on the drawing power of ESPN and a robust and steady stream of live college and professional sports to lure viewers. This facet of the service is expected to grow, too.
“The mix in a couple years will be the result of lots of learning, lots of testing,” Robert Kynci, YouTube's chief business officer, told Time.
Will millennials open their wallets?
The question is, will viewers hang around that long? On one hand, YouTube enjoys enormous drawing power, thanks in part to about 400 hours of content being uploaded every minute of every day. But this is content that is free – and millennials obviously like it this way.
The key is whether they will see YouTube TV as an added value they are willing to pay for. Other industry forays – Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV – have produced only lukewarm results. Meanwhile, powerhouses such as Amazon.com, Apple and Microsoft have been eyeing the genre with interest but remain dubious about the business model: YouTube will be affordably priced out of necessity since to expand the offerings would mean hiking the monthly price. And hiking the price would almost certainly be the death knell.
Like other marketing professionals, you'll probably be watching the YouTube TV developments with great interest. As you do, download ADTACK's free guide, Jumpstart Your Inbound Marketing. It's trendy, too -- and trends toward marketing professionals of all ages.