YouTube is looking to launch a new service that would give users access to billions of videos without having to watch advertisements. The subscription-based service would charge users $10 – $15 a month, but in turn they will be able to avoid ads and can gain access to several new upcoming features. This is where the Australian sporting industry comes into play.
One of the new features that YouTube wants to be accessible to subscribers is the ability to watch live sporting events through the service. A subscriber would only need to log into their account and then search through the live feeds to find the sporting event of their choice. In order to offer this service in Australia, YouTube will need to seek partnerships with Australian sports to gain the rights to show this kind of content.
Sports executives are on the fence with this sort of a decision. By allowing their content on YouTube, there are very little benefits besides added exposure around the world instead of just on local streaming services. Of course, the sports would be offered commission for the views on their live sporting events, but it could also mean less viewers on their own streaming services, which takes away from their direct revenue.
Both the NRL and AFL are in the market for potential deals. Each industry would ask for a substantial amount of revenue for granting live rights to the YouTube service.
Along with featuring live sporting events, the new service would make it easier than ever for users to get access to highlights and come back and watch a sporting event if they missed the live feed. It serves another benefit of being able to get all of this in one central location, rather than having to use several different services to watch various sports.
“YouTube has always been an ad-supported platform and we want to keep it that way,” a spokesman from the Google Australian office pointed out. “But people also want options that include not having ads. It's still in the early stages but we are making good progress. Any subscription offerings would exist in addition to the familiar ad-supported service and would not only give people more choice, it would provide an additional revenue stream for our partners.”
This new service comes in contrast with the success of advertising through YouTube's marketing service. YouTube announced that advertisers are spending up to 60 percent more on YouTube ads than they did last year.
If YouTube manages to land these deals with Australian sports companies, there wouldn't be new content created for the service, but would instead feature highlights and clips that would be generated from existing content. The service would revolve around offering convenience for users rather than new content.