CBS boss Les Moonves seems to have accidentally confirmed that YouTube is working on its own TV package to compete with cable and satellite television.
For months, it’s been rumoured that YouTube is working on something called “Unplugged,” an TV package of traditional channels that would be delivered over the internet (like AT&T’s new DirecTV Now service). YouTube is reportedly looking to charge under $35 dollars a month for the service, which you could watch on your TV, phone, laptop, and so on.
On Monday at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York, Moonves appeared to confirm not only the existence of “Unplugged,” but that CBS was on board.
When asked about the lack of CBS (and Showtime) on DirecTV Now, AT&T’s new cord-cutter bundle, Moonves said he was “assuming” they’d be able to make a deal eventually and get on the platform.
“There are other things, digital rights, and stacking rights and all those sorts of things,” he said. “It’s not just economic factors, look … We’ve been able to make a deal, as you said with, well we haven’t announced yet, potentially with YouTube.”
The “as you said” refers to a comment about CBS having signed a deal with YouTube for “Unplugged.” That’s pretty much an admission that a deal was signed.
YouTube remains mum
Still, YouTube is refusing to comment publicly about the service.
At Business Insider’s Ignition conference Tuesday, YouTube’s head of product, Neal Mohan, ducked a question about “Unplugged.”
“We work with traditional [TV] partners very closely. We’ve been working with them for years,” Mohan said. He said YouTube already had “deals for that type of content,” for highlight clips and things of that nature. “Some of the fastest growing content is traditional TV content,” he continued.
He concluded by saying YouTube is always looking for potential “deeper” ways to get TV content onto its platform. But he wouldn’t say anything about “Unplugged.”
If YouTube does enter the streaming TV market in 2017, it would be a crowded one. Besides Dish’s Sling TV, Sony’s Vue, and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu is working on its own package, and Amazon is rumoured to be doing the same.
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