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YouTube TV will be huge. Apple must respond (theregister.co.uk)
21 points by ryan_j_naughton on March 6, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 41 comments

I am sceptical about that.

I've always had the feeling that Youtube had bad management. If they weren't the biggest library of videos online they'd probably be out of business by now (Thats my personal opinion).

Take youtube streaming for example, it can't take over Twitch . I find its hard to fiddle with youtube's UI changes.

I don't know really, I think we'll have to wait and see, but still $35 a month for 40 channels that seems a hefty price.

$35 a month for 40 channels at launch and likely more later, that you can watch on anything that can access YouTube? Don't underestimate the value of convenience.

Depends on 30-40 channels of what -- if Showtime, HBO and Stars are in that price then it's competitive with buying those a subscriptions from Amazon. Thirty-fourty channels of non-premium content like reality TV shows and sports is a non-starter for me, anyway. Reading the article which claims "...including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, Bravo, Disney Channel, Fox News, FX, MSNBC, Sprout and USA Network." I can definitely say at least for me it ain't worth it.

A cheap antenna will get the broadcast networks and Bravo, Disney, Sprout, etc don't have any compelling content for me. Far cheaper to buy one or two shows off of Amazon if I want to see them semi-realtime, otherwise it's just fine to wait until they are available to stream off of Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Just one nerd's opinion.

I don't care about that stuff either, but I know a hell of a lot of people who do.

In particular, I suspect you overlook access to sports content, in particular live games. That by itself matters enough to a whole lot of people to sell the service at this price point.

You say that, but it's my understanding that sports-only subscriptions would be far more expensive than they are today because all cable subscribers subsidize things like ESPN.

This is my complaint about unbundling: content creators want to charge the same or more than their offerings cost on cable. Back in the heady days of Big Ugly Dishes (BUDs) the providers were unbundled and far cheaper. The price creep we've seen has been aggregators (cable companies and small dish providers) charging a premium + markup simply because they could. Content providers would like to decouple from cable whilst retaining the premium.

I remain skeptical of someone like Comcast ever unbundling ESPN because they'd lose ESPN customers in droves when the real costs were exposed and most likely they (Comcast) would simply set the new base package price as the old one.

Twitch had a huge headstart. Personally I've only used Twitch reluctantly for many years, and only because the streams I wanted to see wasn't on Hitbox/Youtube Live/etc.

There are some annoying quirks with Youtube for sure, but it's better than a lot of others.

If anything, Netflix with its huge affordable worldwide available library is going to be huge. Broadcast TV is rapidly dying and Google's decision to support linear broadcast content instead of expanding YouTube to be a VoD provider is utterly baffling.

> instead of expanding YouTube to be a VoD provider is utterly baffling.

Do we really need another one?

Good point, fragmentation of VoD services isn't a good thing.

Didn't youtube actually tried that once? I remember seeing some movies on YouTube that I could pay to watch.

(And when I tried it, I got the familiar "not available in your country".)

You can still stream movies you rent from google play store on YouTube.

Oh, ok, didn't know that. And looking at the prices, I won't try that anyway.

"and includes unlimited cloud DVR storage with no fixed term contract"

That is essentially VoD that they are offering as well as broadcast.

"unlimited DVR" is PR speak for VoD in this case.

No, that's still DVR. Some channel still needs to broadcast stuff you're trying to watch and you need to set it up to be recorded for you account. Even if they offer catch-up-TV feature you're still limited to whatever the ad-ridden cable channels actually broadcast in last few days.

It'll be interesting to see if Google can work with traditional media companies to find a price profitable price point and offer the flexibility which many people today seek.

It's clear to see that a company such as Netflix can clearly benefit from moving away from these companies, as they tend to be priced highly (thus reducing the ability to make any serious margins) and be hugely inflexible when it comes to DRM and placing geographic and device restrictions.

Surely the deciding factory in YT TV's success will be in it's ability to wade through this ugly maze and convince the rights owners that their future success hinges on their ability to keep with the times...

> reducing the ability to make any serious margins

That's a rather euphemistic way of putting it; the rightsholders know they have a monopoly on each specific item of content and don't see why any other business should make a single penny along the way.

(Orlowski is a known pro-DRM contrarian on this subject!)

As they say, the real success is if they can make this as frictionless as Youtube already is. Pay $35, get everything everywhere on all devices, end of story.

Yeh. I guess you can't knock a company for taking advantage of its monopoly power by maximizing their own profits, but it does feel like there's a gap in the market for someone to really innovate the (live) TV space in the way that Netflix/Spotify have innovated.

It's worth keeping in mind that there is no love lost between Apple and the Register; the latter deliberately contravenes the "reality distortion field" at every turn, and the former permabanned them from its press and release events years ago, a decision rumored to have originated with Jobs himself.

That said, the Register's Apple reporting, while no more directly informed than anyone else's, often stands the test of time quite well, and Orlowski is as close to a star reporter as anyone writing under their masthead. Thus the choice to disregard a piece like this I think merits some hesitation, whatever distaste one may have for the publication, which I gather is not well loved in all quarters here.

Unlimited cloud DVR is a big win and with YouTubes infrastructure experience you can expect it to near flawless. However, Google are terrible at marketing most of their products and this pitch is slightly confusing for the YouTube audience.

However, it does seem to be addressing a real need. Which is native multi device support for live TV with the features the modern consumer expects and a price point that Netflix only crowd won't loathe. With streaming services like Netflix moving towards original content, I can see YouTube TV complimenting Netflix nicely to provide the majority of content that consumers desire.

Why does specifically Apple has to respond to this and not any other TV providers?

Apple's trying to lead in the space with their Apple TV product. The trouble is that getting actual TV content that way is difficult or impossible; news and premium channels have fragmented and incomplete offerings, but there's no good way of which I'm aware to get content from the broadcast networks, and certainly no option to pay a flat fee for content from all of them.

That's a huge drawback for Apple's offering, because a whole lot of people want to watch that stuff. If they want to keep their product relevant, they have to address it - but they now have a huge new problem in that every Apple TV has a YouTube app, and so do a lot of competitors in the space. They could've had first mover advantage on this, because up to now no one has managed it - but now it seems YouTube has, which leaves them playing catch-up.


Apple doesn't give out Apple TVs for free. The beauty of owning the hardware and platform like Apple does is that they still make money from other peoples services.

Now, whether they have a compelling enough TV hardware + OS/software for people to buy and watch Youtube TV over... that's another question. But I think that question exists regardless of whether Apple makes a linear broadcast TV streaming service or not.

That's the point I'm making - Apple isn't really out to sell YouTube boxes, and never has been. If that's all they can do, they may as well exit the space, because there are cheaper, better-spec'd YouTube boxes which will eat so much of their lunch that it'll be uneconomical to continue manufacture and marketing.

I disagree.

The "reports" earlier, when Twitter was bidding for NFL (or NRL? I'm not American or into sport) Apple considered a bid but ultimately decided not to because they realised that whoever got the rights would just still stream it on Apple TV regardless.

I definitely acknowledge that Apple TV at the moment is Apple's compromise of not being able to put a better service out there, but I still think they're very happy selling people their hardware for other people To make software services over the top.

Apple has a limited audience.. but perhaps it is because Apple already has ties and contracts in the media industry for iTunes.

People need to stop telling Apple what to do, they are not going to listen. They got to where they are by themselves, and they are either going to dig a hole or do something better by themselves.

As for Google, good, that doesn't harm Apple. It means we can still access it on Apple platforms as Google still develop their services on both Android and iOS.

If not, there is still Vue, Sling, and other similar ones.

Apple might benefit from an open-minded media content providers seeing the success of the streaming services and they might ease up on the deals that Apple want.

How can Apple respond? They already have all the incentive they need to partner with content providers, and have for quite a long time; the opportunity to pay a flat rate for access to TV content linked to Apple ID, so available on any Apple device and only Apple devices, would have been a very strong differentiator for Apple's products, especially mobile.

But they haven't made it happen - and now they've probably lost that chance for good, if indeed they ever had it.

The story goes is that they've been trying for a very long time, but they're unable to get the content owners (TV channels and movie studios) onboard.

I have Playstation Vue, which contrary to the name does not require you to have a Playstation (although I do). It also works on Apple TV, mobile, and PC.

It has local stations and a cloud DVR as well as Showtime (for Homeland and Billions) and HBO (for Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Last Week tonight).

The price is a little high but overall I've been extremely happy with it. When I saw YouTube's new service my first thought was that it was awful in comparison.

I see no reason to believe YouTube TV is going to be huge. $35/mo isn't a great bargain. Hulu used to offer a lot of the same channels for only $8/mo and while successful it wasn't "huge". Hulu has been dying since Comcast got ownership, but I see no reason to believe something priced at over 3x what Hulu charged for the same thing is going to be "huge".

Tried Sling.tv, which starts at $25 for some set of broadcast channels. The value wasn't there for me. Netflix + Prime is cheaper and has more content.

Remember when netbook will be huge, and Apple must respond?

It was, and they released the MacBook Air and then the iPad. Then tablets gutted the netbook market, and thanks to their foresight, they were well positioned to ride that wave. They haven't done the same with TV.

To be completely fair, I don't think anyone really has 'solved' TV yet.

> Remember when netbook will be huge, and Apple must respond?

They still are huge (they're some of the most popular devices sold) and Apple did respond, the entire industry did too.

The only thing that didn't stick was the name -- we call them "ultrabooks" now.

ultrabooks are expensive, netbooks were very cheap and depended on the net for storage and for apps.

Netbooks weren't all cheap -- good high-quality ones would put you back $500-$800 which is where today's entry-level ultrabooks are (like an Acer Aspire S 13, or an Asus ZenBook)

But yes, the really cheap Netbooks were replaced by tablets and tablet-based laptops. Things like the iPad Mini 2 ($280) or the Lenovo Miix 320 ($200ish) or most Chromebooks.

Apple can easily become large enough by simply making it easier for iPhone users to upload camera-captured content to Apple's own silo than to upload content to youtube.

Which people won't do, because YouTube is where the viewers already are, and also because Apple has what might charitably be called a checkered history with its first-party cloud services.

TV must die.


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