|Founded||February 28, 2017|
YouTube TV is an American streaming television service that offers live TV, on demand video and cloud-based DVR from more than 85 television networks, including the Big Four broadcast networks and PBS in most markets. It is owned by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, itself a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.
YouTube TV began streaming in April 2017 in five U.S. markets – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, In addition to national U.S. networks, YouTube TV broadcasts channels owned by those networks, their corporate owners and other media companies. Other channels include CNBC, MSNBC, BBC World News, The Smithsonian Channel (a venture by Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institution), Sundance TV (owned by AMC Networks), numerous sports channels, Disney Channel (owned by The Walt Disney Company), and BBC America (jointly owned by AMC Networks and BBC Studios). YouTube TV members also have access to YouTube Premium original movies and shows, though an additional subscription to Premium is required for ad-free content and extended app features.
On February 14, 2018, YouTube TV began carrying the Time Warner-owned Turner Broadcasting System's cable networks (including, among others, TBS, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network). In addition, YouTube TV also announced a deal to add NBA TV and MLB Network. With these additional channels, the service increased its monthly price for the first time in March 2018, from $34.99 to $39.99, with no grandfathering or opt-out available.
The service expanded to cover 98 percent of U.S. households in January 2019. In March 2019, YouTube TV launched in Glendive, Montana, thus becoming available in every TV market in the United States.
On April 10, 2019, YouTube TV added nine networks owned by Discovery, Inc., bringing the service up to 70 channels. The service announced a second monthly price increase, from $39.99 to $49.99, without grandfathering existing customers or allowing them to opt out.
On July 29, 2019, at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Pasadena, California, YouTube TV announced it had signed a landmark multi-year deal with PBS to allow carriage of live streams of PBS member stations and PBS Kids Channel beginning as early as the fourth quarter of 2019 (just before or after the November pledge drives of select PBS stations). The deal – which is PBS’s first distribution agreement with a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) – would allow PBS stations the option of providing the direct over-the-air signals of local stations if they are able to clear the rights to at least 90% of their programming, a YouTube TV-exclusive dedicated feed in which shows that local PBS members are not able to clear for digital streaming would be replaced with separate programming or a PBS-provided national feed that would include programs fully cleared by the public broadcaster and localized station ID inserts (omitting local programs or pledge drives), and would allow YouTube TV to provide streams of up to three PBS member stations within a given market.
Stations that choose to offer their main signal must notify YouTube TV if they plan to air a show without rights clearances, in which the service will replace the program with a blackout notice screen. On December 15, 2019, the first PBS affiliate stations were added to YouTube TV.
On February 20, 2020, YouTube TV reached an agreement with WarnerMedia to carry HBO and Cinemax as add-ons, and allowing access to the upcoming HBO Max streaming service with a containing HBO subscription.
On May 7, 2020, YouTube TV reached an expanded, multi-year deal with ViacomCBS, to add the company's prime cable networks that were notably absent since the streamer's launch. The deal also entails a continued commitment to distribute ViacomCBS’ premium subscription services, including Showtime, on YouTube TV, and an extended partnership to distribute the media company’s content on the broader YouTube platforms. Eight of the channels were added on June 30, bringing YouTube TV to over 85 channels. The addition was accompanied by the service's third monthly price increase, from $49.99 to $64.99, which also had no grandfathering or opt-out provisions. Some competitors, such as Hulu + Live TV and FuboTV, have also implemented similar price increases over time.
On September 3, 2020, YouTube TV added the NFL Network to its base lineup and announced the Sports Plus add-on package, which includes premium sports networks such as NFL RedZone, MavTV, GolTV, Fox Soccer Plus, Stadium and TVG for an additional cost.
On March 16, 2021, YouTube TV announced seven other lower-tier ViacomCBS networks which had been promised but not added in the May 7 announcement, would be added to the lineup.
YouTube TV offers a cloud-based DVR service with unlimited storage that saves recordings for nine months. Each subscription can be shared among six accounts and allows up to three simultaneous streams.
Supported YouTube TV devices include:
In February 2020, YouTube TV announced that Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned regional sports networks (including Fox Sports Networks and YES Network) would likely be pulled from the service on February 28, 2020, citing high carriage fees. On that day, YouTube TV announced that it had reached an interim agreement to continue offering the channels on the platform while negotiations are under way. On March 5, 2020, YouTube TV and Sinclair reached a new deal to continue carrying all the Fox RSNs except three – the YES Network, Fox Sports Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West. However, on October 1, 2020, the networks were pulled off the service after the two sides could not come to a renegotiation agreement. The same month, YouTube TV dropped NESN, which carries games for the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins.
In September 2021, YouTube TV entered into a dispute with NBCUniversal when negotiating a renewal of their contract, with the latter warning that its channels would be removed from the service if they failed to reach an agreement by the end of the month. NBC had reportedly demanded YouTube TV bundle their Peacock streaming service, while YouTube TV announced that it would decrease their price by $10 if the contract is not renewed. The two companies failed to reach an agreement by October 1, but agreed to a "short extension" to avoid the channels being taken down. A deal was reached a day later.