Video streaming multi-taskers: listen up.
Some Android users now have access to picture-in-picture mode on YouTube. Picture-in-picture is the ability to watch a video in a floating window while still browsing YouTube.
Up until this point, the feature has only been available to Android users who subscribe to Red, YouTube’s subscription service. But for Android 8.0 Oreo users, it looks like PiP might become more widespread.
YouTube Red is YouTube’s $9.99/month subscription service, which gives subscribers access to original shows, ad-free videos, and “uninterrupted” music streaming on YouTube’s music app. In July 2017, Google confirmed it was combining YouTube Red with Google Play Music, to consolidate its music offerings.
But the subscription video and music streaming market is crowded. YouTube hasn’t announced how many Red subscribers it has — the most recent estimates, from 2016, a year after its 2015 launch, reported 1.5 million subscribers, with 1 million additional free trial subscribers. Even with growth over the past two years, it’s hard to see how YouTube Red competes with Netflix’s 118 million subscribers, or even Hulu’s recently announced 20 million subscribers — Cobra Kai notwithstanding.
Putting picture-in-picture behind a paywall clearly was not enough of an incentive for subscribers to help close that gap. Mashable has reached out to YouTube to learn how widespread the test is and whether it will expand or become a feature. We will update this story if and when we hear back.
UPDATE May 8, 2018, 5:00 p.m. ET: YouTube confirmed that it is testing picture-in-picture for some Android users who are not Red subscribers.