Sling TV, Hulu are neck and neck in the vMVPD subscriber race

Sling TV last week reported a net addition of approximately 214,000 subscribers, bringing its total up to 2.69 million. (Unsplash)

As AT&T TV Now falls back in the pack, Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV have emerged as the co-leaders among virtual MVPDs in terms of subscribers.

According to estimates from media analyst firm MoffettNathanson, Hulu now has 2.7 million live TV subscribers, putting it just slightly ahead of Dish Network’s Sling TV. Since Hulu – which is majority owned and controlled by Disney – doesn’t disclose live TV subscriber totals, MoffettNathanson’s estimates are based on reported results and commentary regarding total distribution by media companies, which are compared with press reports and commentary from vMVPD providers.

The Hulu with Live TV estimate appears to validate comments Disney recently made about Hulu. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said during a recent earnings call that Hulu with Live TV grew more than any other virtual MVPD during the second quarter of 2019.

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Sling TV last week reported a net addition of approximately 214,000 subscribers, bringing its total up to 2.69 million.

Behind Sling is YouTube TV, which MoffettNathanson estimates has 1.6 million subscribers after adding about 150,000 during the third quarter. In the meantime, AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) is down to about 1.13 million after losing another 195,000 subscribers in the third quarter.

MoffettNathanson didn’t break out subscriber estimates for other services including fuboTV and PlayStation Vue, but said those services (combined with Hulu and YouTube TV) added a total of 569,000 subscribers during the third quarter.

Previous estimates have placed PS Vue’s subscriber count at around 500,000, and those consumers could be heavily targeted leading up to PS Vue’s shuttering at the end of January. Indeed, new vMVPD Vidgo has already launched a deal where current PS Vue subscribers can get a free month of service when they sign up for Vidgo’s $14.99/month national plan and submit a copy of their PS Vue bill.

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