YouTube TV Hits 5M Subscribers, Outpacing Hulu’s Live TV Tier

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YouTube TV has surpassed 5 million paying and free trial subscribers, bringing the live TV service to the top of the list compared to other virtual rivals like Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV.

The 5 million figure, which neatly comes five years after YouTube TV first launched in early 2017, is the first subscriber number update for the service since November 2020, when Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said during an earnings call that YouTube TV had more than 3 million paying subscribers.

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With the caveat that the 5 million figure includes those on trials, YouTube TV’s latest figures top online rivals such as Hulu’s 4.1 million live TV tier subscribers and Sling TV’s 2.25 million, per the company’s latest earnings reports.

While not a direct comparison, YouTube TV is also taking aim at cable and satellite pay TV providers, which still claim the bulk of subscribers to live TV domestically. Cable service Comcast has 17.6 million pay TV subscribers, its rival Charter has 15.7 million subs, while satellite service DirecTV has 14.3 million subs and rival Dish has 7.9 million, per Leichtman Research estimates from Q1.

YouTube TV costs $64.99 a month and offers more than 100 channels across the U.S., including 14 major channels from NBCUniversal that were almost dropped from the service after a messy carriage dispute last year.

As for popular content viewed via YouTube TV, Christian Oestlien, the vp product management for YouTube TV and Connected TV, said in a blog post that Friends, The Office, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Everybody Loves Raymond were the most-watched series on YouTube TV in the last six months, according to watch time.

Oestlien also noted that the most frequently DVR’d series on YouTube TV were Yellowstone, Saturday Night Live, This is Us, 60 Minutes and Grey’s Anatomy, though the blog post did not share specific figures for either category.

“Five years ago we launched YouTube TV to rethink how we watch live TV, give users more choice, and unlock a new revenue stream for our partners. Today, we’re thrilled that YouTube TV has become a thriving business of more than 5 million subscribers and trialers. This milestone is a testament to the amazing work the team has done to build a best in class experience,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, said in a statement.

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