YouTube is in talks with entertainment companies about featuring their shows and movies in a hub of TV channels and testing the concept with a small number of media partners.
The new feature, which could launch later this year according to people familiar with the discussions, would bring YouTube into competition with companies such as Roku and free streaming services such as Paramount Global’s Pluto TV and Fox Corp’s Tubi.
The company has started testing with content suppliers including Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., A+E Networks, Cinedigm Corp, and FilmRise.
A YouTube spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that it is running a small experiment that lets a subset of viewers watch free, ad-supported channels and is using it to gauge viewer interest. “We’re always looking for new ways to provide viewers a central destination to more easily find, watch and share the content that matters most to them,” she said.
YouTube has discussed offering streaming partners partners a cut of ad revenue similar to its existing agreement with content creators. YouTube would keep 45 per cent of the ad revenue with platforms keeping the remaining 55 per cent.