YouTube TV now has more than 1 million subscribers, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The streaming media giant has never officially reported its subscriber numbers. The new figure from Bloomberg is the first update on the service’s subscribers since last July, when The Information reported YouTube TV had nearly 800,000 paying users.
News of the service reaching the 1-million-subscriber milepost comes just a few weeks after the Super Bowl, which likely boosted its numbers. Popular sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series tend to lure in new users, many of whom take advantage of YouTube TV’s 30-day free trial, Christian Oestlien, who helped launched the live TV streaming service in 2017, told Business Insider last month. Many decide to stick around after that, though, he said.
“Sports helps bring people in and then programming [such as ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘The Voice,’ and other shows] is stuff that people still care about and love to watch every day,” said Oestlien, a director of product management at YouTube.
Following an expansion into new markets in January, YouTube TV is now available to 98% of people living in the US. The cable alternative costs $40 per month and comes with access to broadcast networks ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC and to popular cable networks, including TNT, TBS, CNN, and ESPN.
Hulu is also gaining ground
YouTube TV isn’t the only online pay TV alternative to have topped 1 milion subscribers. Hulu’s live streaming service, which also launched in 2017, has attracted more than 2 million paying users, Bloomberg reported.
Even if YouTube TV trails Hulu, it stands out from YouTube’s other paid offerings for doing as well as it has. The Google-owned company, which has long dominated the ad-supported streaming video market, has repeatedly flailed at trying to create successful paid services.
In November, the company appeared to sign the death warrant for YouTube Premium, its short-lived attempt to create a kind of subscription-based competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime. YouTube announced then that starting next year, consumers would be able to watch the original shows it developed for the service for free with advertisements instead of having to pay a subscription to view them.
YouTube Premium is a rebranded version of YouTube Red, an earlier subscription offering from the company, but with a confusing grab bag of services. The offering, which costs $11.99 per month, includes everything from the company’s Spotify-like streaming music service to an ad-free video service for kids.
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