Hulu and YouTube TV Off to Strong Starts

YouTube and Hulu have both launched their own livestreaming services during the last year as they attempt to challenge big cable with packages of TV channels online. It remains early in the race, but they are making headway according to numbers released this week.

The live offering of Hulu has approximately 450,000 paid subscribers, not including its most recent promotional customers, according to those familiar with this. YouTube TV has over 300,000 subscribers, said sources.

Hulu and YouTube owner Google have not formally announced the subscriber numbers, and representatives of each company did not comment when messages were left for them requesting one.

Providers of this live content have tried to gauge the number of American households that want live video online as a viable alternative to the traditional, and what they consider expensive, cable packages.

YouTube TV has a monthly cost of $35, while Hulu Live TV is priced at $39.99 monthly. Both offer viewers a mix of news, live sports, and events from several different networks. Hulu’s offering includes standard offerings of before such as video on demand.

While certain appeal exists for them to the cord cutters, YouTube and Hulu might struggle to grow substantially customer base due to canceling being easy and value compared with video on demand not being very good, said on industry analyst.

Hulu, whose competitors include Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, has a monthly cost of $8 for a library online of different television shows and movies. It announced earlier in January that it has over 17 million paying subscribers spread out over both its live TV and on-demand services.

The YouTube and Hulu live services trail that of DirecTV Now, which last month said its subscriber base had reached 1 million and Dish Sling, which is estimated to have over 2 million subscribers.

Dish and DirecTV have given viewers alternatives to their own legacy services in an attempt to compete for younger audiences that buy video content without the need to install a satellite dish.

In April, YouTube TV was launched and is now available in over 80% of households in the U.S. Hulu began offering its beta version of live service in May with just 50 channels.

During the past several years, live online TV services have reached programming agreements with broadcast networks and cable channels to bundle together programming that will compete with traditional cable operators like Charter and Comcast.



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