YouTube is moving along with plans to launch a marketplace that will allow users to subscribe to video streaming services, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The service, which has been discussed since at least 2020 and is referred to by YouTube as a “channel store”, is expected to be launched this autumn, the Journal was told by its sources.
“The pitch is that the new YouTube channel store would offer great marketing for streaming services because consumers could watch trailers of shows or movies free on YouTube and then easily pay to subscribe to the service.”
Video streaming, which transformed how content was distributed, grew significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic as people turned to entertainment on their devices.
The global video streaming market was valued at more than $372 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to about $473.4bn this year and hit almost $1.7 trillion by 2029 at a compound annual rate of 20 per cent, according to Fortune Business Insights.
If YouTube's plans push through, it will be in direct competition with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney, industry majors that have established services and user bases. Combined, these companies have more than 600 million subscribers globally, according to company data and analyst estimates.
However, a streaming service from YouTube has the potential to rival or even surpass those companies given its sheer reach: the platform has about 2.6 billion users globally, according to Statista.
YouTube's planned service will initially be available in the US, the report said, but would presumably be introduced globally. There are no indications of a timeline nor phases for this.
The company is also discussing splitting subscription revenue with its potential streaming partners, “although the terms may vary widely for each partner”, it said.