Starting today, YouTube is bringing a new feature to the UK called Primetime Channels, which allows users to subscribe to and watch their favourite premium streaming channels all in one place.
Users can now enjoy shows from popular channels like Paramount+, LIONSGATE+, and Hayu without having to switch between different apps – all on the YouTube app/website.
Primetime Channels follows successful launches in the US and Germany, making the UK the third country to experience this streamlined way of viewing.
Traditionally, we’ve known YouTube as the go-to place for short videos, but with Primetime Channels, YouTube is stepping up its game in the UK.
With the YouTube app being available on almost every streaming device sold in the UK, this helps minimize app compatibility issues, and the need to install a new app for every streaming service you want to watch.
And if this sort of platform sounds familiar – it’s because others, like Amazon’s Prime Video Channels and Apple TV, already offer a similar platform, where you can subscribe to premium channels as an add-on, inside the Prime Video or Apple TV apps.
However, with Amazon’s Prime Video Channels there’s a slight catch – you need to have an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription first before you can subscribe to additional channels.
On the other hand, YouTube’s Primetime Channels is open to anyone with the YouTube app, making it a tad more accessible for those who aren’t keen on stacking subscriptions.
From today, you will be able to subscribe to and watch premium services LIONSGATE+, Hayu, History Play, Paramount+ and Crime & Investigation Play directly on YouTube.
And for sports enthusiasts, DAZN services will soon be making their way to Primetime Channels in the UK as well.
Richard Lewis, Director of Partnerships at YouTube UKI, pointed out the inconvenience of jumping between different apps to watch various content: “The need to jump from app to app to get to desired content disrupts and adds friction to the user experience.”
He added that Primetime Channels aims to simplify this by giving users access to official TV, movies, or streaming service content all in one place.
A recent Nielsen study highlighted that many YouTube viewers in the UK discover new TV content through YouTube’s suggestions.
Additionally, nearly half of them mentioned that YouTube encouraged them to continue using paid streaming services.
Now, with Primetime Channels, if viewers stumble upon a show they fancy, they can subscribe and watch it without leaving YouTube.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that the list of premium channels one can subscribe to on YouTube UK is quite minimal at the moment – especially when compared to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels (or even to YouTube itself – in the US – where it has more than 40 Primetime Channels on offer).
YouTube Primetime Channels VS Amazon’s Prime Video Channels
Prime Video Channels are an add-on to an Amazon Prime Video subscription. They launched in the UK back in 2017, and the list of available channels has been growing since, and now includes some well-known properties such as Discovery+ (including TNT Sports), MGM, Paramount+, Shudder and many others.
Once you subscribe, you can watch the channels on your desktop, your smartphone, or on your TV, via the Amazon Prime Video app, which is available on most Smart TVs and most streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire TV stick and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, and even on Freesat.
When we compare Amazon’s Prime Video Channels to YouTube’s new platform, YouTube’s Primetime Channels seem to have a more flexible approach.
On Amazon, you have to be subscribed to Prime Video first before you can access other premium channels. However, with YouTube, anyone with the app can subscribe to any of the Primetime Channels directly, no additional subscription needed.
This openness could potentially draw more viewers to YouTube’s new feature, making it easier to access premium content without the need for an extra subscription like with Amazon.
Also, with YouTube being a familiar platform for many, it could entice more people to try out premium channels – though that can be a double-edged sword, as most people think about YouTube as a platform for short videos, and not necessarily for premium TV content.
Additionally, this move signifies YouTube’s ambition to become a more comprehensive entertainment platform in the UK. So far, it has only been a digital VOD platform, with movies and TV shows to buy and rent.
While Amazon has been in this game for a while, YouTube’s vast user base and user-friendly platform could eventually give it a competitive edge.
By teaming up with various premium streaming services, YouTube is not only expanding its content variety but also creating an avenue for these services to reach a broader audience.
Peter Parmenter, EVP Business Development of DAZN, shared his thoughts saying, “Removing friction and making it as easy as possible for sports fans to access the content they love is central to our strategy at DAZN.
“Therefore, we are delighted to be a partner of YouTube for its launch of Primetime Channels in the UK and globally.”
As YouTube transitions from a platform mainly for user-generated content to one that also offers curated, premium content, it’s carving out a significant role in our digital entertainment habits.
With a blend of user-generated videos, premium streaming channels, and a robust recommendation system, YouTube is trying to position itself as a major hub for discovering online content.