For years, cable and satellite providers have dictated the programming options to their customers. In 2017, YouTube set out to disrupt that model, with the launch of YouTube TV, a revolutionary streaming service offering more than 100 major broadcast and cable networks with a variety of add-ons allowing users to truly customize their TV experience.
Kathryn Cochrane was part of the team that launched YouTube TV, and now manages the group focused on sports. In her role, she’s been tasked with innovating the space and making the viewing experience as engaging and delightful as possible for fans. So when it comes to innovation, what do some of YouTube TV’s unique experiences look like?
First and foremost, the main priority is having the infrastructure in place that allows users to stream dozens of games at a time without having any availability or buffering issues, then it’s about adding all the bells and whistles.
One popular feature that Kathryn and her team have created is the ability to catch up to live. For users who might be tuning in late to a game, YouTube TV provides four options—watch from the beginning, watch from a specific point, watch live, or “catch up to live” by viewing all the highlights that have happened so far.
When it comes to adding features, Kathryn and her team spend a lot of time conducting research, including in-depth interviews to observe consumers interacting with the product. A huge challenge that the team had to overcome was spoilers. They noticed that oftentimes, users would simultaneously be watching the game and on their phone looking-up stats. In order to eliminate the need to go searching for additional information, YouTube TV features on-screen stats that don’t give away any information that may occur later in the game.
Besides the on-screen features that make YouTube TV an attractive alternative to regular cable, the core of the offering is its flexibility. Whether that’s allowing users to view shortened versions of games, watch on multiple devices, or just making it easier to find their favorite shows and sporting events—count on YouTube TV to continue building a product that focuses on their most important asset: their customers.
Note: After this episode was recorded, the NFL and Google announced a multi-year deal granting YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels exclusive rights to distribute NFL Sunday Ticket to consumers in the US starting with the 2023 NFL season.