YouTube’s rumored TV service just got a major new partner. According to reports in The Wall Street Journal and Variety, CBS has signed a deal with Google to provide content to a new TV subscription service that will launch in early 2017. That service, first reported by Bloomberg News earlier this year, would launch under the YouTube brand and include access to a number of channels for a single flat fee.
According to Variety, Google is also close to a deal with Fox, which would also include associated cable channels like Fox Sports, FX, and National Geographic. The Journal report also mentions an imminent deal with Disney and its ABC subsidiary, although Variety is more skeptical. Variety also reports that an NBC deal is farther off, and YouTube’s new service is likely to launch without a deal in place to distribute NBC content.
Notably, the new Apple TV launched last year without an over-the-top streaming service. The company was in talks with CBS for such a service, in what CBS CEO Les Moonves characterized as "an ongoing conversation," but Apple’s interest in such a service has reportedly cooled.
Google’s forthcoming service is similar to YouTube Red, the offline subscription service launched last year, but will operate separately from Red for both consumers and content owners. YouTube Red commissioned its first TV series earlier this year, based on the Step Up franchise.
Note: NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, parent company of The Verge.