Digital Eats TV.
In one fell swoop, Google has completely turned the world of cable television upside down.
YouTube have announced the monumental launch of their TV package, YouTube TV. The package offers countless channels and recording, as well as all the standard features offered by other services. With the help of its cloud DVR feature, users can subscribe to a television program, which will then be recorded across all channels, ready to watch whenever, wherever they are.
When I worked for Google in 2007, there was a palpable stir caused when YouTube was purchased for $1.8bn. That sum now seems like an outright steal when compared to the price of the latest fashionable tech play.
But we now see the grand plan unveiled. As with the creation of Chrome or Android in the past, it’s intriguing to see the motives behind such moves, like finding out the ‘whodunnit’ in a thriller.
It has not, however, been an easy ride. It’s widely agreed that YouTube has never turned a profit. Yet, with the announcement of YouTube TV, that situation is likely to change in the very near future.
Now everyone is asking the question- who needs cable? With all the content you could ever ask for available through YouTube in a very attractive package, has the age of the Cable Company finally come to an end? Given that these companies still provide the infrastructure that carries the content, do they even care?
It is clear that investors clearly don’t. In the US, none of the big name cable companies’ share prices have been negatively affected by the announcements of YouTube TV; and stock prices do normally react whenever Google turns up in the news.
And what will happen to advertising – where does the inventory on ABC and ESPN now sit? Will it all end up in the auction, run through DoubleClick? Of course in the short term those networks won’t be giving up those prime-time slots, but what about the remnant inventory? The evolution will happen over time.
And most exciting for all of us in the digital marketing industry, how will tracking and understanding user behaviors be affected by the fact that the attribution model now includes TV, first party.
Mark my words, this is a crucial moment for the digital industry: It’s about to swallow TV.