Google has landed a deal with Freesat, a British free-to-air satellite service, to put a dedicated YouTube channel, via an app, on air alongside much more traditional TV sources. Freesat is a joint venture between different broadcasters in the U.K. and already offers 60 channels for free.
Google’s channel will be built using HTML5 technology and will be optimized for TV as well as offering a “fully interactive viewing experience.” Google is evidently chasing new avenues for YouTube to lead viewers to watch its money-making ad content, and the tech-forward U.K. TV industry seems like an ideal proving ground.
Update: YouTube has emailed Fast Company with a bit more detail. The original report in the Telegraph is, YouTube says now, a little off-kilter: It’s not got a “channel” planned for the U.K., and instead Freesat will be “making YouTube available to their users via an HTML5 browser based app, similar to how it is available on Smart TVs and on Virgin (also a provider) here in the UK. This will be alongside the BBC iPlayer app and other on-demand service apps.” It seems this means YouTube will be accessible via a traditional TV via an app and Freesat’s set-top boxes. Thus this isn’t a “channel” as such, but it does represent a significant push to place YouTube content alongside traditional TV broadcasting.
Can YouTube change traditional TV from the inside? Would this idea work in the U.S.?