YouTube debuts streaming service aggregator

YouTube has launched a streaming service aggregator – Primetime Channels – allowing its users to browse, subscribe to, and watch over 30 services.

Starting today, U.S. residents can sign up for an early access version of Primetime Channels via YouTube’s Movies & TV Hub. From there, they can subscribe to streaming services that they can watch directly on YouTube, while managing all their accounts in one place.

Users can subscribe to big-name streaming services like Paramount+, Showtime, AMC+ and Epix. Other content partners include TelevisaUnivision’s recently launched ViX+, documentary-oriented CuriosityStream and The Great Courses, Tastemade+ and more.

Sports streaming is also a possibility, as YouTube said services such as NBA League Pass are “coming soon.”

Primetime Channels will also be integrated into YouTube’s user recommendations feature, enhancing personalized content on the platform.

The debut of Primetime channels comes a couple of months after The Wall Street Journal reported YouTube may launch a “channel store,” similar to those found on Roku or Amazon Prime Video. Around that time, YouTube hired Verizon executive Miguel Quiroga as VP of product partnerships.

Jeff Shultz, chief strategy officer and business development officer at Paramount Streaming, stated YouTube’s new feature “gives us the opportunity to expand our presence on YouTube, broadening our reach and giving consumers even more choice when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment."

YouTube offers a wide consumer reach with around 2.6 billion monthly active users, per Statista. The platform took an initial step towards streaming aggregation in March, when it released a catalog of full seasons of TV shows available for free.

Primetime Channels’ arrival comes as more consumers are looking for aggregation to better figure out what to watch, per recent studies from Plex and Hub Entertainment Research.

Notably, Primetime Channels is a feature separate from virtual MVPD YouTube TV. Erin Teague, YouTube’s head of sports, movies and shows and leader of the Primetime Channels project, told The Verge she thinks Primetime Channels has a huge opportunity to expand outside the U.S., where some of YouTube’s streaming partners “haven’t reached scale.” Whereas YouTube TV, which recently gained 5 million subscribers, is only available domestically.

In other news, YouTube saw its first ever quarterly drop in ad sales for the third quarter. Despite the decline, Google said it thinks YouTube will “continue to benefit from the streaming boom.”