YouTube is getting ready to announce a new service called Unplugged that would bundle different cable networks and stream different programs directly from its main site for people willing to subscribe to the service, sources close to the project told Bloomberg. Unplugged is one of the company’s top priorities, according to the report, and YouTube is looking to launch the service as early as 2017.
The goal is to increase viewing time for people already on the site and increase the company’s non-advertising related revenue. Executives at Alphabet, YouTube’s parent company, have already begun to talk to NBCUniversal, Fox, CBS and others about securing rights to various television series and sporting events. YouTube launched its first subscription streaming service, Red, at the end of October last year. Users could choose which channels they subscribed to for $5.99 a month. According to Bloomberg’s sources, the path YouTube executives are most interested in exploring is a form of skinny bundling that would pick channels from the four different networks to offer as a bundle and then choose other popular channels to offer as stand-alone options. Other companies like Apple and Amazon were rumored to be considering similar live TV streaming deals like this in the past, and based on this report, looks like they may push ahead with it. YouTube has yet to confirm whether or not they are in the negotiation stages with other companies to secure the rights to live TV programming, but Polygon has reached out for comment.