YouTube TV has surpassed 5 million subscribers and free trial participants a little more than five years after it launched.
Even if the actual paid subscriber base is a bit less than 5 million once the trials are subtracted, the number still likely makes YouTube TV not only the biggest internet pay-TV provider but also the fifth-largest TV distributor of any kind in the U.S. It trails only Comcast, Charter, DirecTV and Dish Network. In Disney’s most recent quarterly report, it said its streaming pay bundle Hulu + Live TV had reached 4.1 million subscribers.
When internet TV packagers sprouted up in the 2010s, they were referred to as “skinny bundles” for their initial value proposition of offering a leaner collection of channels at a lower price point and the ability to let customers connect and disconnect with a tap of a mobile phone. Over time, as their programming costs inevitably increased, their customer pricing also rose sharply and they encountered friction in carriage negotiations. Regional sports networks, for example, have had spotty presence on streaming bundles due to a disconnect on carriage fees.
While early streaming bundle players like PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now either vanished or transformed into different offerings, YouTube and Hulu over the past five years have established dominance in the sector. Together, they control about two-thirds of all streaming TV bundle households in the U.S., which in turn represent roughly 10% to 15% of the overall pay-TV universe.
“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,” said Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube. “This milestone is a testament to the amazing work the team has done to build a best in class experience.”
In a blog post, Christian Oestlien, VP of Product Management for YouTube TV and Connected TV, wrote that the initial goal of bringing the bundle to market was to “make watching TV even more enjoyable — featuring a modern product experience without all the commitments, equipment fees and hassle.”
Oestlien offered a few stats from the platform, including the top five most DVR’d shows. In order, they are Yellowstone, Saturday Night Live, This is Us, 60 Minutes and Grey’s Anatomy.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.