In an age where cable television providers are already competing against online streaming services, the competition just got a little more intense. In the last month alone, two major online streaming services, YouTube and Hulu, have announced cable television packages.
Setting up a cable television package might be normal to many homeowners, but for the 32% of people buying a home for the first time? Purchasing a cable, phone, and WiFi bundle is a thing of the past. Now Amazon, Youtube, and Hulu all pose major competition to traditional television services.
Not 24 hours after Amazon signed its first major sports deal — an agreement with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday night games — Google debuted YouTube TV. The service comes complete with 50 major television channels for $35 per month.
The service is only set up to run in five major regions: the New York City metro area, the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles Chicago and Philadelphia. The limited scope of the package discouraged some consumers, but that hasn’t dampened the company’s spirit.
Susan Wojcicki, who is in charge of the YouTube unit, explained that YouTube is now reaching more of the 18- to 49-year-old demographic than traditional cable television.
“Media buyers are looking at YouTube right alongside their TV buys,” she told the New York Post in April.
Meanwhile, Hulu has also thrown its hat into the ring.
The digital streaming service announced its beta launch of Hulu With Live TV on May 3. The service, according to Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, starts at $39.99 per month and covers about 50 channels, including ESPN, CNN, Fox News, TBS, TNT and Disney Channel. Customers who want Showtime will pay an extra $9 for the network.
“Hulu can now be a viewer’s primary source of television,” said Hopkins in a public statement. “It’s a natural extension of our business, and an exciting new chapter for Hulu.”
The evolution from streaming service to full-blown cable provider for both of these networks isn’t surprising, especially in an age where Netflix has all but obliterated movie rentals. The big question now is whether or not viewers will want to evolve with this new trend. USB 3.0 cables are compatible with USB 2.0 devices, but that doesn’t make the USB 2.0 device run any faster. Similarly, streaming television might be the future, but it doesn’t mean the people will necessarily hop on board immediately.
The future for these services is uncertain, but there’s no question that cable television is running a tighter race with every new streaming service that enters the market.