YouTube Wants To Be Your New Netflix, Seeks Rights To TV And Movies

If you want to curl up on the sofa on a cold winter night and watch a movie, that’s what Netflix is for. And if you want to watch music videos, mash-ups, or cats doing foolish things, you’ve got your YouTube. That’s how it’s been since approximately the dawn of time, by which we mean roughly the last five or six years. But it looks like the times, they are a-changing, and YouTube wants to be your one-stop shop for video of any and all sorts.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Google’s Alphabet’s big red video arm is “seeking streaming rights to TV series and movies.” Getting those rights would pour full-length features onto the service, making YouTube a direct competitor to now-venerable Netflix as well as Hulu and Amazon.

The premium content on YouTube wouldn’t be for just anyone; the feature films and TV series on offer would be reserved for users of YouTube’s new $10 monthly ad-free subscription service.

As the WSJ points out, YouTube users are, generally, not used to the idea of paying any money for using the service. The ads are an annoyance that hundreds of millions of users have simply learned to live with or ignore. So in order to draw people into the paying subscription tier, YouTube is going to need, well, offerings worth paying for.

The everpresent Netflix catalog waxes and wanes as contracts are signed or expire, and as that service continues to focus on new serial content, there’s some competition in the back-catalog. Amazon and Hulu, through their own subscription services, have been increasingly jumping into the fray over the past few years with original and licensed content of their own.

YouTube remains the internet’s dominant short-form video provider, but maybe not for long. They boast over a billion daily users… but so does Facebook, which has been (successfully) forcing its way into video hosting in a big way over the past several months. From a business perspective, now would be a really excellent time for YouTube to beef up its subscription service, for the customer loyalty and the revenue stream.

The WSJ says that YouTube has brought in executives who used to work for Netflix to help make this happen. An unnamed source “familiar with the situation” told the WSJ that YouTube is hoping to have a “robust” collection of both original and licensed content on-hand for subscribers sometime in 2016.

YouTube Seeks Streaming Rights to TV Shows, Movies [Wall Street Journal]