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YouTube expected to add ESPN, CBS, and ABC to online TV service

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YouTube is helping you have your cake and eat it too. Catering to our generation of cord cutters, a new report from The Information suggests that the online video service has cut a deal with a number of major broadcasters, including ESPN, ABC, and CBS, who will each provide their TV service online, sans cable subscription. Because flipping through channels is so 20th century.

While the aforementioned big three names seem closest to confirmation, The Information notes that other large networks are also expected to soon get in on the action. That said, if your TV tastes are a bit more niche (HGTV, Oxygen, and the like), you may not be able to watch your favorite shows on YouTube. Rather, the video streaming service may try to come up with its own channels that feature similar content.

According to an earlier Bloomberg report, the new service is to be dubbed Unplugged, and YouTube will charge eager viewers  less than$35 per month. Similar to current cable subscription plans, you’ll be able to get a basic package at that price, and then perhaps purchase additional add-on channels at an extra price. Unplugged is slated to go live in the next six to nine months, so we could be starting off 2017 with a bang — at least, in terms of web-based TV.

Of course, The Information notes, YouTube’s plans might not go off completely without a hitch, as they’re certainly not the only players in the space. There’s Dish Network, Sony, and that are also offering similar deals for those who don’t want to subscribe to cable. Moreover, YouTube already has a subscription service — the little known YouTube Red, which is little known for a simple reason — people aren’t really using it. After all, given that the vast majority of content on YouTube is free, people seem hard pressed to actually pay to watch videos.

All the same, come early 2017, we’ll begin to see just how well major broadcasters can play with major web streaming services.

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