Google didn’t provide a new subscriber total for YouTube TV in the first quarter but one analyst estimate suggests that it was the slowest period for the virtual MVPD in years.
According to MoffettNathanson’s latest Cord Cutting Monitor, YouTube TV added 75,000 subscribers during the first quarter. It’s higher than the 43,000 net adds reported by fuboTV and much better than Hulu + Live TV’s 200,000 and Sling TV’s 100,000 net losses.
But, according to the analyst firm’s chart tracking YouTube TV’s growth back to the first quarter of 2017, it’s the slowest growth quarter for the vMVPD since the third quarter of 2018.
From the fourth quarter of 2018 through the end of the 2020, YouTube TV added approximately 3 million subscribers. In February, Google said that YouTube TV had more than 3 million paid subscribers.
But that rate of growth may be slowing down as the U.S. vMVPD space lost a combined 241,000 subscribers, leaving it with a total 11.75 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.
YouTube TV’s apparent slowdown comes during a standoff with Roku, one of the biggest connected TV platforms with 53.6 million active accounts. Earlier this week during a J.P. Morgan investor conference, Roku CFO Steve Louden said his company has asked Google not to manipulate search results on Roku, to not require Roku to share personal info about customers and to “not try to require us to do certain things on the device side of things that would increase our cost basis and, hence, erode our [bill of materials] cost advantage that we have from Google products like Chromecast and Android TV.”
Earlier this month, Google announced a new feature that provides access to YouTube TV through the YouTube app on Roku and said it will expand availability to “as many devices as we can over time.”
Google also offered an update on its ongoing negotiations with Roku. The company said that, as of right now, existing YouTube TV members still have access to the app on Roku devices, but that it’s in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku.