Hulu + Live TV Snags Twice as Many Customers as YouTube TV

Posted on March 1, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Microsoft Movies & TV, Smart Home with 22 Comments

A new report claims that usage of Hulu’s Live TV service is double that of YouTube TV, and well ahead of other competing services.

Hulu + Live TV, as Hulu’s live streaming television service is awkwardly named, will soon surpass the 2 million subscriber milestone, making it roughly twice the size of YouTube TV, which has a bit over 1 million subscribers. That’s according to a new report in Bloomberg that cites people with knowledge of the matter.

Perhaps more ominously, Hulu and YouTube’s live TV services are the only US-based cord-cutting solutions that are currently growing. Rival services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and Sony PlayStation Vue have apparently slowed dramatically, with some experiencing an actual subscriber based drop in response to higher prices.

I’m not surprised that Hulu and YouTube are among the top performers, given the quality of both services. But I’m a bit surprised that YouTube TV isn’t the top choice. Perhaps Hulu’s connected video streaming service plays a role there, as YouTube TV is literally only TV.

Certainly, pricing isn’t helping any of these services: After initially entering the market at lower price points, each cord-cutting service raised prices last year, with both Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV coming in at around $45 per month. That gives cable subscribers little financial incentive to switch, though of course online services like Hulu and YouTube TV offer many other advantages over traditional cable bundles.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Hulu + Live TV Snags Twice as Many Customers as YouTube TV”

  1. Chris_Kez

    "... well ahead of other competing services"

    Actually, Sling TV has 2.4 million subscribers, per their earnings report two weeks ago. That is #1, and maybe 20% more than Hulu + Live TV. I can see the confusion though; that Bloomberg article kind of weirdly combines Hulu and YT and says they may be outmaneuvering the competition. My guess is that the source of the tip about the Hulu and YT numbers has a dog in the fight.

  2. dallasnorth40

    I just switched to Hulu+Live TV and saved $50 from what I was paying to Spectrum Cable. I really love it. The interface is excellent, it has DVR and all the channels I need. And, of course, works with my Amazon 4K Fire Sticks.

  3. mani774455

    This article is very good. really enjoyed reading through it.thanks for sharing. 

  4. spoonsofflavor

    Thanks for this valuable information!

  5. Dave Lane

    I love YouTube TV for several reasons.

    1. I pay for it through iTunes and every year I buy $400 worth of gift card from Costco and Sam's Club at a 20% discount. So, for almost an entire year, I get the service for $32/month.

    2. YTTV lets you stream from any location on any device as long as you stream from your home location at least every 90 days. This means for my two houses that I have to travel between I only have one TV bill and the same unlimited DVR. No issues with a 'home network' error.

    3. I augment now and then with Philo for a month, like now that Project Blue Book is ending, I'll get that. Next month, GoT premieres and I'll get HBO after a month will cover streaming the whole season. In either scenario, my total content bill is less than $50/month.

    4. If you want local stations in two locations, you pick a home location, then 'TV' devices like Apple TV and smart TVs access your home locals. But, your mobile device, like my Galaxy Note 9, accesses the closest locals - I just cast it to the TV. So, I get local news wherever I am and the DVR for my home location, which has local sports.

    You can't do some of the above even if the cable/sat provider dropped their price to zero. YTTV is absolutely the best option IMHO.

  6. faustxd9

    I just tried to get the old Verizon Fios now Frontier to lower my bill from $180 for a cable package and internet. They basically told me I had the best rate going and I have a Windows 8 Media Center DVR with 2 cable cards so no DVR from them. I was appalled and your article reached me at the same time. Needless to say I am planning to switch after I get back from my business trip. The lack of any concern about losing a customer was the last straw. The best I can determine is that I will be paying ~$50 for the internet TV service and ~$50 for the internet through Frontier. That saves ~$70 a month or ~$840 a year. That will be a huge saving for me and am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.


  7. ben55124

    These cable TV simulators are for people quitting "Live TV" -- like the patch for smokers. They figure out the "Live TV" grid is no longer relevant and needs to go away asap.

  8. ubelhorj

    I have Youtube TV, but rarely ever watch it. I went so long without cable, I fully replaced the time I would have wasted on it with other things.

    I'd cancel it, but I'm grandfathered into the lower original price.

  9. George A. Roberts IV

    I really liked YouTube TV when I tried it … but it is missing channels absolutely necessary for me to choose it. In order to use it and get the channel coverage we want, we had to use YouTube TV + Sling's lowest package and then the price was essentially the same as Hulu + Live TV, so why have the frustration of using two services?

  10. Bats

    LOL...perfectly fine with me. I know why Hulu has more customers and it's because they offer more in channels and content than Youtube TV does. That's what I get from the thousands of people the "Cordcutter News" Facebook page.....and that's perfectly fine with me. As a subscriber to many of Google's (fantastic) services, to quote one of Trump's jokes, .... "I'm so sick and tired of winning!" (lol).

    Like I said, Hulu, at $44.95, offers more popular cable channels than Youtube TV, such as History Channel, HGTV, and (I think) Discovery. Add to that Hulu original content, as well. Youtube TV does not offer those popular channels, but from what I understand, subscribers to the service complement it, by also subscribing to Philo TV for an additional $16. For me, who pays the grandfathered rate of $29.99, if I were to subscribe to Philo TV for the additional $16, then my total monthly would be $46 with unlimited DVR for both Youtube TV and Philo TV.

    The way, this tv market is shaping.....if you want value, just stick to the cord. Cable/DirecTV, IMO, offer the best bang for your buck. However, if one doesn't watch 10% of the 250-500 channels that the "cord" offers, then he or she should just cut the cord. Afterall, why pay the extra $20-$150 when you could spend the money for something else.

    • LocalPCGuy

      In reply to Bats:

      We cut the cord because we hate commercials. Hulu (ad free), Netflix and Amazon Video keep us entertained by being able to watch 4 shows (roughly 42 minutes each without commercials) in the same time as three commercial laden shows.

  11. Travis

    All very small numbers compared to cable TV. Almost not even worth talking about. In areas where you are locked in to one internet provider it doesn't really make financial sense to opt for a streaming service.

    • DaddyBrownJr

      In reply to Travis:

      I used to pay $250.00/month to Cox for internet and TV. I now pay Cox $83.00 for internet and $40.00 goes to YouTube TV. That's $130.00/month savings. It may be chump change to some, but not for me. I also like the service better.

      • Travis

        In reply to DaddyBrownJr:

        Sounds like it is a better deal for you that is pretty substantial. I pay comcast $99 for internet and tv including showtime starz and they also bundle in netflix. It is a 2 year agreement but I'm happy to be locked into that for 2 years.

  12. marshalltm

    But I’m a bit surprised that YouTube TV isn’t the top choice. “

    Youtube TV Supported platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast/googleTV, iOS, Android

    Hulu supported platforms: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast/googleTV, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV/Kindle Fire

    Streaming on a TV is a problem for YouTube TV because of Google’s fight with Amazon

  13. Skolvikings

    I prefer Hulu Live TV over YTV. Plus, for a long time, it was my only option if I wanted all of my local channels (YTV wasn't even available in my area until they finally went nationwide.) Another advantage is I can use Hulu Live TV on all my devices, whereas I can't use YTV on my Fire TV stick that's upstairs. Finally, until this month, Hulu was by far my cheapest option. Since I already had Hulu's No Commercial plan, and intended to keep that regardless of which streaming cable provider I chose, it ended up that I was only paying $35 for the Live TV part of the package. Much cheaper for me than Hulu plus YTV, DTVN, or whatever. Unfortunately, Hulu just upped their rates this month, but so has most of the competition.

  14. kenspencerbrown

    Another factor might be the number of devices Hulu is on, including Windows (through the new PWA) and Nintendo Switch.

  15. CompUser

    (To Chris Kez over on the other side of the tracks.) Sling is built into Dish Network's new Hopper receiver, plus subscribers with older DVR receivers can buy and connect a Sling TV module to their receiver, so all those people are also subscribers to Sling TV. But this is probably not quite the exact same service, even though Dish owns Sling and they call this Sling TV, I'm guessing Dish Network's subscribers to Sling TV aren't counted in the 2.4 million Sling subscriber number you mentioned. But I have it, and I love it, because it streams every Dish channel I subscribe to (including locals), to any Internet connected computer or smart phone. It even shows the exact same personalized channel menu that I have at home, becuause it's actually streaming directly from the Hopper in my house.
  16. jgraebner

    I may have missed a news story on here, but did you notice that Hulu's Windows Store app was recently replaced with their PWA, which brought the full Hulu+Live TV feature set to Windows 10?

  17. kumaruk

    very good. really enjoyed