YouTube begins testing free, ad-supported TV channels hub

YouTube on Pixel 7 Pro
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube begins testing a new free, ad-support channel hub with entertainment providers.
  • Allegedly, those closest to the subject estimate the launch of this hub could be later in 2023.
  • YouTube would be joining a saturated free, ad-supported channel market which brought in $4 billion in 2022 with a $9 billion projection by 2026.

YouTube may begin leaning more into the television side of streaming with its latest project.

According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube has initiated talks with entertainment companies in an attempt to feature their shows and movies in a new free channel hub. The information stems from people close to the subject with the Journal stating YouTube may look to launch this new hub at some point later on in 2023.

There are currently more than 20 free, ad-supported platforms per information gained from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Many viewers will be accustomed to the Roku Channel on their Roku device or other platforms such as Tubi and Pluto TV. A free channel market is widely sought out by viewers (and platforms alike) with the data stating it was a $4 billion market in 2022 with experts estimating it could rise to $9 billion by 2026. 

Seeing as YouTube is beginning to show interest in joining this streaming area, the streaming platform has allegedly discussed taking a 45% cut of revenue earned from this new hub. This would leave 55% of the revenue going to the providers of the content which would be similar to how YouTube works with its own content creators who make videos.

Additionally, those closest to the matter have also said YouTube has started this free channel hub with A&E Networks, Lions Gate Entertainment, Cinedigm Corp, and FilmRise.

While YouTube's revenue did fall in Q3 of 2022 with it only bringing in $7 billion from its ads, another path where the platform could potentially bring something free while also distributing advertisements to viewers is probably one it's willing to take.

Back in November, YouTube started rolling out its Primetime Channels to U.S. consumers. This brought in one convenient hub where users could watch platforms such as SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Paramount+ in one place and manage all of their subscriptions, as well. Then, in December, the platform introduced its exclusive contract with NFL Sunday Ticket which will go into effect for the 2023 NFL season.

With so many different hands coming out to beget consumers' money and attention, perhaps this free channels hub could be a breath of fresh air.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.