[Edit – YouTube Red is now called YouTube Premium and is $9.99 per month]
YouTube TV, Google’s $35 per month streaming service aimed at a younger demographic of cord cutters and cord-nevers, is expanding to ten more markets, the company announced this week at VidCon.
The service had initially launched in April offering streaming live TV and DVR functionality to just five major metros: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
In just a couple of weeks, YouTube TV will be tripling its footprint, by offering service in Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.
The company also confirmed that its strategy to attract younger viewers was working – at least in terms of the demographics of its YouTube TV subscriber base, if not in the actual number of sign-ups (a figure which it didn’t include in its announcement.)
However, according to the company, it sees more millennials using YouTube TV than any other generational group. That’s not surprising given its brand, mobile-first focus, and content.
Despite this expansion, YouTube TV is still not broadly available across the U.S., which could eventually hurt its ability to compete in a now-crowded market of services offering over-the-top TV.
Hulu this year entered the live TV business as well, with a $40 service, though its service gets fairly pricey when you add-on extras like a larger DVR or unlimited streams. Meanwhile, YouTube TV also faces competition from older live TV services like Dish’s Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, plus newcomers like AT&T’s DirecTV Now.
For cord cutters, it can be difficult to parse the differences between the various services as they don’t all offer the same channel line-ups, nor do they have the same features. While cloud DVRs are quickly becoming table stakes for a service like this – Sling TV just rolled out its DVR to iOS devices and Windows 10 yesterday, for example – AT&T’s DirecTV Now still doesn’t offer a recording feature.
YouTube TV’s DVR, on the other hand, has been one of its bigger selling points as it promises unlimited storage for your shows. That makes using the record option feel more like saving a YouTube video to a playlist for later viewing, rather than something trying to mimic old-fashioned cable TV with its storage space limitations, and forced expirations on saved shows.
(Unfortunately, you may end up watching commercials on YouTube TV’s DVR recordings – once the show is available on-demand, the service streams that version to you instead, ads and all.)
In addition to YouTube TV’s expansion to new markets, YouTube also announced a new slate of YouTube Red original series.
Though you can join YouTube Red – the ad-free version of YouTube – without a YouTube TV subscription, Red’s original content also comes with YouTube TV. That makes it more of a draw for younger fans, given its series tend to feature YouTube creators like SMOSH, Rhett & Link, Gigi Gorgeous, Joey Graceffa, Liza Koshy, and others, instead of traditional Hollywood stars.
The new lineup includes an action-comedy series set in the world of the LAPD featuring Veronica Mars’ Ryan Hansen; a comedy series showcasing comedian Rob Huebel’s adventures; a reality competition show for “aspiring footwear creators” from TV producer Ken Mok and sneaker designer D’Wayne Edwards, hosted by YouTube star Swoozie; and a show from YouTube star and inventor Colin Furze.
YouTube TV is also renewing several shows, following the loss of one of its biggest headliners with the cancellation of PewDiePie. These returning shows include murder mystery series Escape the Night; Rhett & Link’s Buddy System; neuroscience focused Mind Field; and sci-fi action comedy Don’t. Get. Bit. Lazer Team 2.
To date, YouTube TV has launched 37 original series and movies on YouTube Red, which have generated nearly a quarter billion views.