YouTube is experimenting with a new hub of FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) channels in an effort to compete with streaming rivals like Roku, Pluto TV and Tubi.
The company is testing the idea with a small number of media partners and is in discussions with entertainment organizations and content providers about including their programs and films in the center of cable-like channels, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“We’re always looking for new ways to provide viewers a central destination to more easily find, watch, and share the content that matters most to them,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We are currently running a small experiment that allows viewers to watch free ad-supported linear channels alongside the wide variety of content we offer on the platform.”
YouTube, which according to a November 2022 Nielsen survey, exceeds Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video among others and represents for 8.8% of TV viewership, would logically expand by entering the FAST market.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, there are more than 20 free, ad-supported TV platforms in the United States.
The experimentation comes in the wake of other YouTube streaming initiatives, including the launch of Primetime Channels, which allows users to subscribe to streaming services through their platform, and landing NFL’s coveted Sunday Ticket package.