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YouTube Primetime Channels Review: How They Work And Whether They’re Worth It

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AMC Plus Primetime Channel on the Home Screen of the YouTube app

While YouTube shouldn’t need much of an explanation, Primetime Channels might. Basically, these are premium subscriptions that you can sign up to directly through YouTube. Whether or not you should, however, depends on how you want to stream content.

There are plenty of streaming services to choose from today. Too many, in fact, and the sheer volume can make it hard to decide which services to sign up to. Not to mention, make it even harder to manage your monthly subscriptions.

YouTube Primetime Channels won’t really help you choose which services to go with, but it will offer you a way to manage multiple subscriptions from one central location – YouTube. Regardless of whether you’re more interested in AMC+, Hallmark Movies Now, Max, NFL Sunday Ticket, Paramount+, Starz, or another streaming service, you can now sign up through YouTube.

Signing up to a Primetime Channel on YouTube

As your YouTube account is connected to your Google account, signing up to a Primetime Channel is very easy, and especially if you already have a payment method linked to your Google account as well.

Simply head to the Movies & TV section of YouTube website or app and shop the many Primetime Channels that are available. Once you find one you are interested in, you can start the subscription with just a few clicks and without having to input any new information.

In the majority of cases, YouTube will also provide you with a free trial, so it is usually possible to test out a streaming service before paying for the subscription.

Watching a Primetime Channel on YouTube

Managing multiple subscriptions at the same time is not the only benefit of signing up to a streaming service through YouTube. In fact, what is arguably the biggest benefit is the ability to access these streaming services directly in the YouTube app. This means there’s no need to download any additional apps, or worry about device support.

On most devices, any Primetime Channels you have subscribed to can be found in the Movies & TV section of the app (listed first under Primetime Channels). If a subscription includes more than one service, you’ll see a Primetime Channel for each one.

For example, after we signed up to AMC+, we not only gained access to an AMC+ Primetime Channel, but also separate Primetime Channels for IFC Films, Shudder and Sundance Now.

Clicking on one of these Primetime Channel icons is the easiest way to access the service, as each section is home to all of the movies, shows and additional content included with the subscription.

You may notice that YouTube lists all videos in these sections as “Purchased“, and while not technically true, these purchased labels are useful, as they let you know that you do have access to that content.

This is particularly important as YouTube will also recommend content from Primetime Channels you subscribe to elsewhere in the YouTube app, including on the home screen. Having these labels should ensure you don’t accidentally end up purchasing or renting a title you don’t have access to.

Finally, Primetime Channels can also be accessed through the Library section of the YouTube app. They will be listed under Primetime Channels and separated if a single subscription includes access to more than one streaming service.

So are YouTube Primetime Channels worth using?

There are two main reasons to consider signing up to a Primetime Channel through YouTube. Well, two and a half reasons.

The first is easy management. If, like us, you are subscribed to multiple services at the same time, having them all managed by YouTube simplifies the process. This makes it possible to not only check when payments are due, but also how much you’re paying for each service, and most importantly, cancel any subscriptions you are not using.

The second reason is that all of these services can be accessed within the one app. So long as you have access to a device with the YouTube app, you have access to all of the streaming services you are subscribed to. If logging in on a new device, you only need to worry about the one app and not having to install a bunch of other apps. Likewise, if visiting someone else, content from your streaming services is only a cast from the YouTube app away.

The ability to access content from all services in a single location is our favorite feature of YouTube Primetime Channels overall.

As for that half reason – the free trial. While most streaming services offer a free trial, they still typically require you to create an account and add a payment method. With YouTube, you already have both of these set up, so testing out a service for free is quick and easy.

Pro tip: if you’ve already used a free trial for a streaming service, you can still take advantage of a free trial through YouTube Primetime Channels, making this a great option for returning subscribers.

That all said, an issue with Primetime Channels is that the list of services is fairly limited. For example, you won’t find Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock or Prime Video, so you will still need to subscribe to some streaming services directly.

Even more of an issue for us was that Primetime Channels can only be accessed through the YouTube website and app. If, like us, you would rather access services directly through their own apps, then YouTube Primetime Channels isn’t going to be the right option for you.

This is also the reason why we’ll skip YouTube Primetime Channels and continue signing up to the services we want directly.

YouTube Primetime Channels

Summary

YouTube Primetime Channels is a good addition to the YouTube app and a great way to manage multiple subscriptions. However, with many streaming services missing, it is not the one-stop shop it could be.

Overall
3.4

Pros

Manage multiple subscriptions
No need for other apps
Free trial for most services

Cons

Missing popular services
Not great for deals

John Finn

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