YouTube this morning announced the launch of Primetime Channels in the UK. The feature allows users to browse, subscribe to, and watch premium content from third-party streaming services within YouTube. The UK is the third market where the service is available globally, after releases in the US and Germany.
Users will be able to pay and watch services including Paramount+, Lionsgate+, Hayu, History Play and Crime & Investigation Play via Primetime Channels. DAZN services will soon be added in the UK and Germany.
The move positions YouTube as a central hub for CTV content. YouTube itself is one of the most watched apps on CTV devices in the UK, and the company says audiences already use YouTube’s CTV app to find TV content.
In its announcement YouTube cited a study by Nielsen, a US data and measurement firm, which found that 65 percent of viewers in the UK discover TV content through YouTube’s recommendation engine. The study also revealed 49 percent of UK YouTube viewers who watch content related to streaming services said they would continue using a paid service.
By enabling users to watch content from third-party streaming services directly via YouTube, the company says it can make navigating CTV content simpler for users. Richard Lewis, director of partnerships at YouTube, said that “the need to jump from app to app to get to desired content disrupts and adds friction to the user experience. Primetime Channels gives users access to official TV, movies or streaming service content all in one place.”
There are obviously benefits for partnered streaming services too. Primetime Channels provides an extra point of distribution, and breaks down some of the barriers to subscription, potentially helping bring in more subscription revenues. “Removing friction and making it as easy as possible for sports fans to access the content they love is central to our strategy at DAZN,” said Peter Parmenter, EVP of business development at DAZN.
But from YouTube’s point of view, if more CTV viewing becomes concentrated within its own walls, it can exert more power over these same media partners through its role as a gatekeeper. Streaming services will be aware of this trade-off. In the US, nearly a year after launch, many major services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ remain unavailable via Primetime Channels.