YouTube Primetime Channels Put A Bunch Of Streaming Options In One Place

With over 2.5 billion monthly users, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform on the planet. One of the reasons for YouTube's massive popularity is that it lets anyone upload and share a video for the rest of the world to watch. In fact, it wouldn't be erroneous to state that YouTube is the platform that mainly contributed to the creation of the now 50-million-strong creator economy. And many of those creators directly or indirectly depend on video-sharing platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram for their livelihoods (via ValueWalk).

While YouTube started as a platform that primarily lets people watch user-generated content, Google has been trying many things to expand the platform's scope and explore additional revenue streams. For a long time now, YouTube has offered consumers the option to rent movies and even prompts many of its 2 billion-plus users to subscribe to an ad-free version of the platform — YouTube Premium — for a monthly fee.

Given its image as a place to watch informal, user-generated content, YouTube was traditionally not seen as a competitor to mainstream OTT players and streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus. However, as the lines between user-generated content and "professional" content continue to blur, YouTube is gradually attempting to become a place where consumers can stream on-demand content. As a part of this evolution, the company, on November 1st, announced the launch of a new platform called YouTube Primetime Channels.

What exactly are YouTube Primetime Channels?

Given that consumers have hundreds of streaming platforms to choose from, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to find the content of their choice on their smart TVs. Often, these users are overwhelmed by the sheer number of options to choose from, resulting in most of the time being spent jumping from one streaming app to another to access their content of choice.

YouTube claims it wants to simplify things a bit here. Starting today, YouTube users in the U.S. will be able to browse and watch content from over 30 streaming services — including Showtime, Starz, Paramount+, AMC+, Vix+, Epix, Here TV, and MovieSphere from within the YouTube app. As evident from the list, some of the more prominent names from the OTT streaming space are missing from the platform right now.

According to YouTube, content from these platforms will be showcased within the "Movies & TV Hub" section of the YouTube app on TVs running Android TV. Consumers can sign up, browse, and watch content from the streaming service of their choice without ever having to leave YouTube.

How bad is it going to be for creators?

YouTube says it has made efforts to integrate all streaming and OTT content into the YouTube app without drastically changing the YouTube experience. Essentially, each of the streaming services that are part of Primetime Channels will get to showcase their content in the same manner as YouTube channels do (via The Verge). Consumers will also get the ability to like, dislike, and comment on the videos — just like they'd do on "normal" YouTube videos. One major change here, however, is the absence of a view counter.

Going forward, search results will list content from some of these channels alongside content from YouTube creators. In addition, YouTube's recommendation engine — which used to recommend user-generated creator content until now — will also begin recommending content from Primetime Channels in user recommendations.

While YouTube's blog post makes all this sound rosy, it is becoming increasingly clear that from now on, creators on YouTube will not only have to fend off competition from fellow creators — but will need to compete against polished, professionally made content from large production houses.