Science & Technology



Jennifer Van Grove: YouTube TV's about-face on TV apps is the right move

Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

"When we launched the service, we positioned it as a mobile-first product. A lot of that was about breaking the association with the DVR and set-top box, this hardware in the living room you have to rent that gets outdated really quickly. We were trying to get people to grok that this is TV that lives on your phone, a cloud DVR, all of the above," he said. "What we saw in practice was that the majority of our watch time was in the living room, through Cast. And the number one request we get from consumers is more options, native options, for the living room."

Now, YouTube TV has a fighting chance to attract regular folks to its fold at a pivotal time. The cord-cutters group continues to grow as pay TV subscribers sign off at a faster pace than ever. AT&T, for instance, lost 385,000 of its traditional pay TV customers (DirecTV and U-verse combined) in the third quarter.

And YouTube TV offers a very compelling $35-per-month package. While there are noticeable holes in the service's channel lineup -- mainly Turner-owned stations -- YouTube TV comes with all the broadcast networks, plenty of sports-friendly stations and some lifestyle favorites (AMC, Bravo, FX). Throw in the unlimited storage, cloud-based DVR and an extensive on-demand library, and you get a competitive bundle in terms of both price and content selection.

Of course, YouTube TV's new TV app stance isn't as all-inclusive as it could be. The Google-owned product has no plans to release an app for Amazon Fire TV sticks and boxes. And, as far as streaming device ownership goes, Amazon is second only to Roku with 24 percent market share, according to Parks Associates. So hopefully the company will rethink that decision, too.

About The Writer


Jennifer Van Grove covers e-commerce and digital lifestyle for The San Diego Union Tribune. Readers may send her email at

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