In 2018, Google began the transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. While the Play brand stuck around for a while, it was clear that its days were numbered. This week, Google began the next version of the Google Play brand shift by announcing that Google Play Movies & TV would be leaving most smart TVs this year (Roku, LG, Vizio, and Samsung). In the announcement email sent to customers, the company said,
Starting June 15, 2021, the YouTube app will be your new home for movies and shows on Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs. The Google Play Movies & TV app will no longer be available on these devices.
To access all of your previous purchases, log into the YouTube app using the account you use on Google Play Movies & TV, navigate to the "Library" tab, and click on "Your movies and shows."
So, once again, the YouTube brand is eating part of the Google Play brand - a name that was created because the Android Marketplace was offering media content as well as apps. But, the move should not come as a surprise following last year's related announcement about Google TV (the new one, not the old one) becoming Google's central hub for media. For most users, this signaled the eventual end of the Google Play Movies & TV brand. So, the idea that Google would be working on a transition plat on non-Google-powered TVs is perfectly natural.
If you are an Apple user, you can likely expect a similar announcement in the near future for the iOS and Apple TV apps. Those two are a little less important, though, as you cannot make purchases in the apps because of Apple's much disliked payment restrictions.
The real surprise here is the concept that Google is going to transition the sales of digital media in the age of streaming video to the service that made streaming video a household name. Will people be interested in puchasing access to movies and TV episodes through YouTube when they can easily subscribe to a service like Peacock or Hulu? YouTube Red's lack of success, along with the existing lack of interest in YouTube rentals, would suggest no, but we'll see in time.