Skip to main content

YouTube TV still leads after latest round of streaming numbers

YouTube TV and Hulu apps on the Roku homescreen.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Three of the four major live streaming services in the U.S. have reported their earnings for the third quarter, and the results are pretty clear: YouTube TV (probably) still leads the pack — and by a healthy margin. We have to hedge that just a tad because Google doesn’t give regular updates on streaming statistics, unlike the other parent companies at play here.

But with that said, here’s how things break down:

  1. YouTube TV last reported having more than 5 million subscribers in the middle of 2022. While it hasn’t given an update since then, Google did say in its Q3 earnings call that there was “YouTube non-advertising revenue driven by subscriber growth in YouTube TV” on the back of NFL Sunday Ticket moving to the service. So we know it’s growing. We just have no idea how much.
  2. Hulu With Live TV is firmly in second place at 4.6 million subscribers as of the end of parent company Disney’s fiscal year. (Which ended on September 30.) That’s only 100,000 off its high for the fiscal year, but it did add 300,000 subs in the third quarter.
  3. Sling TV remains in third at 2.12 million subscribers. That’s basically the same number of subscribers has had since the beginning of 2018, never climbing higher than 2.6 million subscribers in that time period. It’s been slowly trending down since then.
  4. Fubo is the dark horse in this conversation. Its numbers can fluctuate a bit depending on the quarter because a good bit of its attraction has to do with sports, but it’s essentially grown by 5 times since the end of 2019.

And one other mention here: ESPN+. It’s not in the same category as the services mentioned above. They’re known as MPVDs, for multi-platform video distributors — basically the streaming version of what you’d get from a cable company. ESPN+ closed Disney’s fiscal year at 26 million subscribers, up 5.7 million subs for the year, and up about 8.9 million over two years. It’s full of on-demand content but also is full of live sports that can’t be watched anywhere else.

What does all that mean? Not a whole lot, actually, except to say that the two services that are showing significant growth — YouTube TV and Fubo — tend to add features and adjust their businesses as necessary. Hulu With Live TV is still growing overall, just much more slowly. And all the services have one thing in common: Price increases. (Mostly. Fubo actually just lowered the cost of one of its tiers.)

None of that changes the only things that matter: Does a service have the channels you want? And does it have a price you’re willing to pay? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then you should try another service. And if none of them does the trick for you? (Or if you just can’t handle the occasional streaming hiccup?) There’s always a good, old-fashioned antenna.

Phil Nickinson
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Sling TV versus Fubo
Sling TV.

On-demand movies available on Sling TV. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

There are a few options in the U.S. when it comes to streaming live TV. Sling TV and Fubo are two of them. They represent the less popular of the four major choices in terms of total number of subscribers (YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV remain atop the list), but they are still very much worth considering.

Read more
What is YouTube Music? Everything you need to know
iPhone 15 Pro Max showing the YouTube Music app.

YouTube is one of the most popular online destinations for video, but it's also one of the premier places in the world to find music. It's no surprise, then, that Google went and rolled all that music content out into a dedicated music app called YouTube Music. The app offers music and podcasts and has free and premium versions.

If you're wondering how YouTube Music compares to other music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music, it really depends on how frequently you rely on YouTube to search for music and how important music videos are to you. In this article, we'll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
The basics

Read more
YouTube TV just got even better on iPhones and iPads
Multiview on YouTube TV on an iPad.

If you use the most popular live-streaming service on an iPhone or iPad, things just got even better. YouTube TV — which boasts more than 8 million subscribers — just pushed multiview live on Apple's mobile devices, as previously promised.

It works basically the same way it does on a television. YouTube TV picks the programs available in multiview, and you get them all at once, with audio coming from one of the shows. Tap another, and the audio switches. And just as before, you can get multiview for sports, news, business, or weather. (Though we definitely don't recommend watching four news channels at once in an election year.) It's just in time for March Madness, which is great, though we hope you'll be able to pick your own games instead of just sticking with the multiple viewing options YouTube TV gives. This will be great come fall, though, when the new season of NFL Sunday Ticket takes hold.

Read more