With cord-cutting still plaguing the business, YouTube TV keeps growing -- and is now coming close to becoming one of the top four of all U.S. pay TV providers.
And with its big NFL "Sunday Ticket" package starting up next month, this becomes more significant.
Right now, LightShed Partners estimates Comcast has 14.4 million subscribers; Direct TV (and Direct Stream), 12.5 million; and Dish Network (and Sling), 8.9 million. Charter Communications has reported that it has 14.1 million subscribers. Of this group, Lightshed Partners says only one -- Charter -- has reported their subscriber results, while others are estimated results.
YouTube TV is now at estimated to have 6.6 million subscribers.
Dish, in fourth place overall, keeps losing subscribers. YouTube TV gains as other top virtual pay TV providers -- Sling and Hulu+Live TV, have seen slower growth.
YouTube TV may have the upper hand going forward due to securing the big NFL“Sunday Ticket” franchise -- which, according to Richard Greenfield of LightShed Partners, could result in 2 million to 3 million incremental new subscribers.
There is even flexibility here for consumers -- they don’t have to be YouTube TV subscribers to get “Sunday Ticket,” which wasn’t the case with DirecTV carriage of the package
In addition, the YouTube video-on-demand website continues to have a stronger connection to consumers -- leading viewing share of the streaming TV marketplace. (And yes, that means more than Netflix). Nielsen’s June Gauge measure shows that YouTube had a top 8.8% total day persons ages two and up for viewing share of streaming.
Why the YouTube and YouTube TV increase?
Consumers, of course, see all things digital/streaming as a thing to have. But more importantly, a streaming brand-name association may be a bigger thing.
For many, having any pay TV service -- such as YouTube TV -- would seem too old-school.
Why not get just a collection of streaming apps? Research shows a still large percentage of consumers like the comfort of being able to turn on a TV set and flipping around the channel button on their remote to find content.
For viewers now, anything with the YouTube name attached to it seems to at least have some future ease of access -- as well as cancellation.
Legacy names like DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, and Charter have a tougher task here.
For modern streaming, a typical message sentiment for this has been: “Hey, sorry to see you go. No problem. Come back anytime." Well, that seems friendly enough.
Couple this with over two decades of digital media interactions for all things Google -- even amid the lingering privacy issues -- this brand keeps finding ways to keep moving upwards.