Streaming giant YouTube is in talks with media companies to test out a hub of free ad-supported TV channels to rival competitors, Wall Street Journal reports. The testing has begun with a small batch of users to weigh out the public’s interest in the feature.
According to an unnamed YouTube spokesperson, the company is always looking for new ways to give viewers easy access to a one-stop destination to find, watch and share content that matters to them. They have also confirmed that the feature could be available to users early this year.
Entertainment firms like Lionsgate, A+E Networks and Filmrise have also taken an interest in the venture to have their shows and films featured in the hub.
This is not the first time YouTube has expressed interest in providing free, ad-supported content. In 2022, the streaming platform added over 4000 episodes worth of TV shows to its catalog, including episodes from shows like “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Andromeda” and more.
Should the company’s plans push through, YouTube's strategy of expanding into different video formats will bring them to compete with other big names in the Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) market like Roku Inc., Fox’s Tubi, and Paramount’s Pluto TV.