YouTube TV will soon be available throughout the U.S., including in markets where it doesn’t carry most major local broadcast networks. The $40-per-month bundle of streaming cable channels will reach 95 more markets today, with the rest of the country to follow soon after.
Previously, YouTube had avoided launching its live TV service in areas where it couldn’t get the rights to local affiliate feeds for at least three of the big four broadcast networks (that is, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC). Now, YouTube will plug the gaps by bringing over broadcast coverage from one of the network’s owned-and-operated stations. For instance, Mankato, Minnesota, will get NBC’s Chicago station, and Presque Isle, Pennsylvania, will get coverage from NBC in Boston. In any event, YouTube TV now offers local feeds from the major broadcast networks in 90% of U.S. markets, and will have at least three of the big four in the remaining 10%.
The news says as much about broadcast networks and cord cutting as it does about YouTube. A couple years ago, the lack of local broadcast feeds was a major sticking point for live TV streaming services, but those services have significantly ramped up their coverage over the last year as the networks have ironed out blanket deals with many of their affiliates. The continued decline of cable and increase in antenna use was becoming too pronounced for the industry to ignore–even if it means leaving a handful of affiliates behind.