YouTube TV To Be Biggest Pay TV Provider In 2026, Reach Profitability In 2024: Analyst

YouTube TV is trending to be the largest pay TV provider in the U.S. by 2026, according to projections from MoffettNathanson Research -- and to reach profitability by the end of this year.

A report estimates that in two years, YouTube TV will total 12.4 million subscribers -- outpacing legacy cable TV-focused companies Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications. 

Due to overall industry-wide cord-cutting of traditional pay TV programming bundles -- around 7% per year -- those two companies will drop to 9.2 million and 11.2 million subscribers, respectively.

“At the current levels of decline, YouTube TV is on a clear path to becoming the largest pay TV provider in the United States,” writes Michael Nathanson, co-founder and senior research analyst.

At the end of 2023, YouTube TV landed at 8.0 million subscribers -- slightly higher than DirecTV's 7.8 million. Comcast and Charter are each estimated to have had 14.1 million subscribers at year's end.



YouTube TV raised its base programming bundle price to $72.99 a month last year.

“With traditional MVPD packages now fetching prices in excess of $100, we would argue the ease of YouTube TV (mobile viewing, no cable boxes or satellites, etc.) still presents a great value to those still watching linear television and a great entry point for younger consumers not conditioned for the traditional distribution models,” Nathanson said.

YouTube TV's revenues are forecast to rise 32% this year to $7.9 billion -- including $7.5 billion from “core” revenue and $400 million from “NFL Sunday Ticket.”

After years of posting overall net losses, Nathanson forecasts YouTube TV to see “slight profitability in 2024," adding: "Note that we estimate YouTube TV was profitable on a 'core' basis in 2023, with overall profits dragged down by losses from Sunday Ticket.”

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