If there ever was any doubt which live streaming service was dominating in the U.S., it ends now. YouTube TV has more than 8 million subscribers, according to a blog post penned by CEO Neal Mohan. That’s up from the 5 million subscribers the service announced in July 2022.
By comparison, Hulu With Live TV — the second-biggest service — reported 4.6 million subscribers as of September 30, 2023, which marked the end of parent company Disney’s fiscal year. YouTube’s parent company, Google/Alphabet, doesn’t report subscription numbers with any real sort of fidelity. “More than 8 million” is all we’re going to get. The new numbers also mean that YouTube TV has about four times as many subscribers as the third-highest service, which is Sling TV, at just over 2 million.
The reasons for YouTube TV’s popularity are myriad. Its price is comparable to its competitors — currently at $73 a month for its sole plan. And it has a pretty healthy stable of add-on features, such as the ability to watch some live shows and on-demand titles in 4K resolution. It also allows for unlimited recording, a total of six separate profiles on a single subscription — and it is easy to use whether you’re watching on a TV, tablet, or phone. YouTube TV has also seen a pretty major marketing push in the past couple of years at high-profile events like the Major League Baseball World Series and the NBA Finals.
Also bolstering the numbers has been the addition of NFL Sunday Ticket, which in 2023 made the leap from the satellite-based DirecTV to YouTube TV, as well as YouTube Primetime Channels on the traditional YouTube app. Execs have said in a couple of earnings calls that NFL Sunday Ticket has directly led to an increase in subscribers. YouTube TV also has a multiview feature, letting you watch multiple games simultaneously. (It also works for news and weather in addition to sports.)
YouTube TV is available on every major streaming platform, from Google TV and Android TV to Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. It’s also available on smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.