Hulu’s virtual MVPD service now has about 450,000 subscribers, while YouTube’s livestreaming counterpart is at around 300,000.
These numbers come courtesy of CNBC, which quoted unnamed sources. Neither of the digital video companies has released subscriber data to date.
The numbers are being watched carefully by cable, satellite and IPTV service providers, who are seeing quickened cord-cutting to linear services as customers migrate to over-the-top livestreamed platforms.
Dish Network’s three-year-old Sling TV is the oldest and most entrenched vMVPD service, estimated to have more than 2 million customers.
AT&T’s 14-month-old DirecTV Now said it had reached the 1 million subscriber benchmark at the end of December.
Both YouTube TV and Hulu Live offer comparable bundles of major broadcast and cable networks, including base packages at less than $40 a month. And both have expanded as they’ve aggressively signed deals with broadcast network affiliates—each is distributed in more than 80% of the U.S. right now.
The two upstart vMPVDs from digital media companies with entrenched VOD platforms are competing not only with Sling TV and DirecTV Now, but also with Sony’s PlayStation Vue and fuboTV, not to mention upcoming vMPVD services from T-Mobile and Verizon.
The real anticipation at this point is not so much who will be next to throw their hat in the vMPVD game, but who will realize there isn’t enough of a market to support a dozen services and make the decision to pull out.