Google says YouTube TV has surpassed 5 million accounts — making it the U.S.’s biggest internet-based pay TV service.
The 5 million-plus users for YouTube TV, regularly priced at $64.99/month, is as of June 2022, according to the company. The tally includes users on limited-time free promotional trials, according to Google.
With the milestone, YouTube TV has pulled comfortably ahead of Disney’s Hulu as the biggest internet TV subscription service in the U.S. (it’s safe to assume that the large majority of the users in YouTube TV’s count are paying subscribers). As of April 2, Hulu had 4.1 million Hulu + Live TV subscribers — a decline of 200,000 over the first three months of 2022. In addition, YouTube TV is the fifth-biggest pay-TV service in the U.S. (after Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, DirecTV and Dish).
Most recently, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, had reported that YouTube TV had more than 3 million customers as of the third quarter of 2020.
“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,” YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said in a statement. “Today, we’re thrilled that YouTube TV has become a thriving business of more than 5 million subscribers and trialers. This milestone is a testament to the amazing work the team has done to build a best-in-class experience.”
First launched in April 2017, YouTube TV is available nationwide (to 99.5% of U.S. households) with more than 100 channels, including local channels for ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and options for premium networks. The service features unlimited cloud-based DVR storage, up to six accounts per household and lets subscribers access up to three streams simultaneously.
According to Google, the current top five most DVR’d shows across all YouTube TV viewers are: “Yellowstone” (Paramount Network); “Saturday Night Live” (NBC); “This Is Us” (NBC); “60 Minutes” (CBS); and “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC).
The top five older series YouTube TV viewers are nostalgic for are (based on watch time from January-June 2022) are “Friends,” “The Office,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Meanwhile, Google nearly decided to call the internet TV service “YouTube Air,” because an early version used an over-the-air TV antenna, according to Christian Oestlien, VP of product management for YouTube TV and Connected TV, who revealed that engineers climbed onto the roof of YouTube’s headquarters while holding an antenna to build the prototype. The pre-launch code name for YouTube TV was “Unplugged” (i.e., users don’t need a cable box).