YouTube tipped to strike licensing deals for TV shows and films | Technology | The Guardian
Report claims online video service is set to negotiate with Hollywood studios and TV firms to help YouTube Red compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

YouTube is preparing to strike deals with Hollywood studios and television firms to bring films and TV shows to its YouTube Red subscription service.

The online video service is keen for its $9.99-a-month service to compete more directly with rivals such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Its report suggests that YouTube is in the “early stages” of these talks, but that it hopes to commission original shows and films rather than simply license existing content.

“Netflix, Amazon and Hulu license many older movies and TV series that have already run elsewhere, while YouTube is focusing on new material,” claimed the report, citing an anonymous source.

“The shows or movies may be streamed exclusively on YouTube Red, or could be released through traditional channels like movie theaters, cable networks and DVDs alongside the YouTube subscription service.”

Any such deals would complement YouTube’s existing plans to commission shorter shows from some of the most popular stars on its free service.

PewDiePie, The Fine Brothers and Lilly Singh are among the YouTubers making new shows
that will only be available to YouTube Red’s paying subscribers. The subscription tier launched in the US in October, and will expand globally in 2016.

Netflix and Amazon have won critical acclaim for their original shows including House of Cards and Transparent. These shows are the bait to sign viewers up for monthly subscriptions – or, in Amazon’s case, its Prime membership scheme.

Although it is early days for YouTube Red, the service appears to have some traction in the US. At the time of writing, YouTube is the 12th top-grossing iPhone app in Apple’s US App Store, jostling with Hulu and dating app Tinder on the outskirts of the top 10.

It’s based on people paying $12.99 for a monthly subscription within the app – YouTube has added $3 to the cost of YouTube Red to account for Apple’s 30% cut of in-app purchases.

YouTube is not the only tech giant hoping to strike streaming licensing deals with the TV and film industries for 2016, however. Apple is thought to be working on its own streaming video service to run across its iOS and Apple TV devices, with one report in March suggesting it was planning to charge US viewers $30-$40 a month for a package of 25 channels.