Rumor: YouTube to launch its own virtual MSO in 2017

By Jim O'Neill on May 04 2016 at 1:45 PM
Rumor: YouTube to launch its own virtual MSO in 2017

Another day, another rumored entrant into the Cloud TV battle, this time, it’s YouTube that is alleged to be planning its own virtual MSO offering with a bundle of broadcast and cable networks under the moniker “Unplugged.”

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the plan, is likely to bloom in 2017 – along with Hulu, which itself announced plans to launch a live Internet TV streaming service by the first quarter with Disney and Fox content, as well, potentially, as content from NBCUniversal. Hulu is owned by Disney, Fox and NBCU parent Comcast.

There is, however, a potential stumbling block (actually, a huge one).

Unlike Hulu (and Sling TV and Sony PlayStation Vue) YouTube is said to still be in negotiations with major media companies, including NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Fox and CBS, and it hasn’t yet lined up any content deals.

And while Bloomberg reports that Google has been trying to put together a Cloud TV play since at least 2012, the company has been chasing giants since at least 2010, the year it launched its ill-fated Google TV, a platform it launched with Intel, Logitech and Sony. Google TV eventually was abandoned, principally because studios were reluctant to give a Silicon Valley firm access to premium content.

Although it’s had better relations with Hollywood, Apple, too, has been unsuccessful inputting together content deals together for a virtual MSO it had planned. The company has allowed those ambitions to go dormant, for the time being.

Content owners appear to be in the catbird seat as broadcasters, SVOD players like Amazon and Netflix and cloud TV wannabes like Hulu, Sling TV and Amazon and even operators like Verizon and AT&T look to amass content flashing an open checkbook.

Interestingly, Ad agency Magna Global today said  it planned to up its spend with YouTube significantly, striking a multi-year deal to spend more than $250 million on YouTube ads this year, taking the money from television ad spend. The represents 4X-5X Magna’s “normal” ad spend with YouTube.

According to Ad Week, that move is being made in response to a dip in traditional TV ratings.

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn

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