YouTube TV went live this week, becoming the biggest live streaming competitor yet to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV Now. Though only in five markets at the moment, YouTube has lined up an impressive array of live streaming channel options for cord cutters to enjoy, plus provides streaming from any device, and unlimited Cloud DVR capability for up to six different screen names on one account. But can it avoid the streaming glitches that plagued the others?
The timing for launching their live streaming service couldn’t be more dicey, as YouTube has faced a firestorm of criticism over accusations of demonetizing controversial content creator videos. This prompted many high profile advertisers to boycott the service after finding their ads placed in content they don’t approve of.
In an effort to mollify this boycott, YouTube moved quickly to prevent such content from earning AdSense money, or flat out removed the videos altogether. The streaming giant has even moved to cancel the YouTube Red series one of their most popular creators, after videos with hateful jokes started a major controversy.
And now The Verge is reporting that YouTube is limiting how content creators can actually make money, by placing a 10,000 view floor before monetization can be triggered. This won’t affect the Philip DeFranco or Freddie Wong’s of the world, but it’s certainly going to make it harder for those just starting out.
So it may be that these growing pains will cause some users to shy away from YouTube’s new live streaming venture, but there’s no denying that for $35 a month, it’s enticing. The service comes with channels that include broadcast networks ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN, among others. Already off the bat there’s value there since CBS All Access is an premium subscription channel on competing services like Sling. Then you add YouTube’s RED service, which is also $10 a month separately, and already the value of the service begins to be clear.
Cable channels are also in the offing including the CW, SyFy, FX, NBC Sports, Disney XD, FreeForm, USA, Fox Sports and many others. All told, more than more than 50 channels, and YouTube says it will soon add AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE TV, and BBC World News at no extra charge. Users can also add on networks like Showtime for a monthly fee.
I’m a Sling TV user. But almost after I signed up, YouTube announced their streaming service and I started paying close attention, and will consider making the jump to see if it’s worth it. But with a one-month free trial along with a free Google Chromecast after the first month’s payment, it’s hard not to make the switch, or at least enjoy it for a month.I’d like to see YouTube beef up the cable side of lineup with Discovery, The History Channel, and even Food Network channels. But maybe that will come down the road.
Meanwhile, I think that I’ll give it a shot, but I may wait a few weeks to see if YouTube TV has any issues with buffering and outages like what plagued DIRECTV Now and Sling TV. With Sling, it had its streaming quirks, but has been consistent recently. The nice thing about a one month trial is that I don’t have to cancel my other service to give it a go.
Amazon Prime and Thursday Night Football
In other streaming news, NFL Thursday Night Football is moving to Amazon Prime for the 2018 season, giving the service even more value for its $99 a year premium price. When you consider that Amazon Prime gives you free shipping, streaming services, unlimited photo storage, music, and even an eBook lending service, adding NFL Thursday Night Football to the mix is bound to get football fans signing up.
It’s sad though, that Twitter’s live streaming experiment only had one season. I thought the Thursday night streams went really well, but it was always meant to be a one-year deal, and the NFL had streamed a previous short season of the mid-week games on Amazon before.
However, returning to Prime puts the action behind the pay wall, and many fans likely already pay for NFL Sunday Ticket via DIRECTV, so I don’t know if it’s a wise move or not. Then again, the NFL has been rumored to be thinking of doing away with the Thursday Night game, so it may be short lived, as well.