Hulu is widening its gap with competitor YouTube in the live TV market. Both streaming sites originally announced online TV channel packages last year in a bid to compete with the more traditional cable services, with YouTube TV eventually launching back in April and Hulu’s package entering beta in May. Despite the former’s one month head start, though, it is the latter who has taken a significant lead over Google-owned YouTube, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The latest claims put Hulu’s subscriber count at 450,000, while YouTube’s numbers, on the other hand, are said to sit at 300,000. Now, both live TV packages include similar features, with a number of live sports, news, and other content on offer from a variety of channels. But in addition to this, Hulu’s package also provides a significant advantage over its competitor’s in the form of its traditional on-demand content, hence the slight price hike – YouTube TV costs $35 while Hulu’s package costs $4.99 extra. This added extra is likely the reason for Hulu’s increased success versus YouTube, not to mention the fact that the service already boasts over 17 million US customers that are subscribed to its regular streaming offering, available for $8 per month. Hulu’s subscriber number could also receive a significant boost once Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox is complete. After all, both companies currently own 30 percent of Hulu, which means that once the deal is complete Disney will own a majority share in Hulu and, considering the company’s plans to launch a streaming service with every Disney title and other original content, Hulu could easily turn into Disney’s new permanent online home if the company deems it worthwhile.
Both YouTube and Hulu’s live TV offerings still trail behind some of the more established online services. However, with Hulu nearing the 500,000 subscriber mark, it may not be too long before the service catches up to the likes of DIRECTV Now and Dish Sling. After all, AT&T’s DIRECTV Now recently reached the 1 million subscriber mark, and Dish Sling is said to provide content to over 2 million customers. It is important to note that neither Hulu or Google have released official subscriber figures yet, so it’s possible that the source could be mistaken.