YouTube is bringing premium streaming services into its main app with a new feature called Primetime Channels. You'll see TV shows, movies and sports from the likes of Showtime, Starz, Paramount+ and AMC+ alongside videos from your favorite creators.
Folks in the US can sign up for Primetime Channels starting today through the Movies and TV section. There are more than 30 services you can subscribe to at the jump, with more on the way. NBA League Pass is among those that will be available soon.
Primetime Channels homepages will include trailers, cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage alongside episodes and movies. You'll be able to search for films and shows from channels through the main YouTube search panel. As The Verge notes, if a movie or show is available on a service you're signed up to, you'll see a green "watch now" icon. Otherwise, the icon will read "pay to watch."
Your YouTube recommendations will include films and shows from Primetime Channels as well. So, if you search for a trailer for something you're interested in, and the series or movie is available on a channel you're subscribed to, it might pop up in your recommendations to help you start watching it right away. You'll be able to like or dislike a movie or episode and leave comments, but content from Primetime Channels won't have view counts.
There are some catches, according to The Verge. If you already have a subscription to Paramount+, Shudder or one of the other Primetime Channels, you can't simply link your accounts. You'll need to cancel your membership and sign up through YouTube. However, services you've signed up to through YouTube TV will carry over. However you slice it, that seems overly convoluted.
YouTube is clearly attempting to become the hub for all your streaming needs to help it better compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max. It aims to bring more things for you to watch to Primetime Channels, along with more features. The platform is also planning an international rollout of the feature.
One thing that Primetime Channels doesn't seem to offer, at least for the time being, is live TV. You may still need to go to YouTube TV for that. Given that YouTube TV has a fraction of the number of subscribers Netflix has (albeit more than Hulu's live TV option), it seems smart to try another tactic as the battle for consumers' attention and dollars rages on.