Turns out that people like watching TV on TV. So YouTube is going to make that easier: The video service is launching apps for its YouTube TV pay TV service that will work on connected TVs and devices, including Xbox and Apple TV.
One big exception to YouTube’s rollout plans: It won’t have an app on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.
YouTube execs won’t discuss why they aren’t making an app for Amazon’s hardware, but it’s easy to understand: YouTube’s parent company Google is still in a fight with Amazon.
Two years ago, Amazon stopped selling Chromecast, Google’s connected TV device, for reasons neither company has ever explained — though Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has chalked it up to a dispute about “acceptable business terms.”
I’ve asked Amazon for comment.
It’s worth noting that Amazon also kicked Apple’s Apple TV out of its store at the same time. But those two companies have since made up.
And while Apple TV boxes haven’t yet reappeared in Amazon’s store, Apple has said it will finally bring Amazon’s video app to Apple TV this year. So it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple’s devices show up on Amazon.com at the same time.
Back to YouTube TV: YouTube first positioned the $35-a-month pay TV service, which launched in April, as “mobile-first.” But YouTube did allow its users to watch the service on a regular TV, by using its Chromecast dongle to “cast” the video from their phones.
Now it says that more than half of all YouTube TV consumption has been via Chromecast, and that people who watch YouTube TV that way watch a lot of YouTube TV: This fall, they have been streaming four hours a day on weekends.
YouTube TV will roll out in the next few days for devices that use Google’s Android TV platform, including Sony TVs, as well as Xbox devices. And later this year the company plans to roll out apps for other connected TVs, including Samsung and LG boxes, as well as Apple TV.
Last week, Google’s parent Alphabet made a point of highlighting how much time YouTube users spend watching the service on TV — 100 million hours a day, up 70 percent in the last year. YouTube didn’t break out what was spurring that growth, but I’m assuming it has more to do with the free service than YouTube TV, which likely has a very modest user base.