Hulu Reportedly Overtakes DIRECTV NOW In The Live TV Streaming War

Hulu is reportedly on the cusp of two million subscribers to its Hulu with Live TV (Hulu + Live TV) streaming service.

The figure comes from a new report out of Bloomberg which directly credits “people with knowledge of the matter” for the details. This also tallies well with another report that emerged a few days ago where MoffettNathanson suggested Hulu had gained 500,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2018 alone.

If the figures are correct then it would seem Hulu’s live TV solution has now overtaken AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW option as the second most subscribed-to service.

AT&T previously announced that at the close of 2018, DIRECTV NOW had seen a substantial drop in subscribers during the fourth quarter bringing the overall total down to between 1.6 and 1.7 million.

Considering Hulu’s option arrived much later to the market, this will be seen as a big step for Hulu and a change in the status quo.

Almost since the so-called “skinny bundles” first became available DISH Network’s Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW have occupied the top two positions.

Sling TV still remains in the top spot overall with 2.42 million subscribers although this only reflects a slight increase compared to the 2.21 million Sling TV had at the start of the year. In this sense, the momentum certainly seems to be with Hulu. Although not just Hulu.

The same report also now looks to confirm that YouTube TV has finally passed its own one million subscriber milestone. Again, the previous MoffettNathanson report stated YouTube TV had gained 400,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter. With YouTube TV almost doubling its subscriber count in the last three months of the year, it too is seeing massive gains in the market along with Hulu.

Like Hulu, YouTube TV was another late arrival to the live TV scene and even when it did arrive the service spent a considerable amount of time in a beta stage while its availability slowly expanded out to new locations.

In spite of the slow rollout and the late arrivals in general, the figures point to Hulu and YouTube having now collected around three million subscribers between them. A figure that suggests the gap between the new and the old guard is shrinking considerably - Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW combined cater to four million subscribers.

Although these are only reported numbers at the moment -- and therefore subject to some skepticism -- the fact they are starting to be reiterated by different sources adds to the suggestion the major milestones are now being reached and Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW are now starting to feel the pressure exerted by Hulu and YouTube.

As a rule neither Hulu nor YouTube publicly disclose live TV subscriber numbers.

It is also likely to be an indication of how the market will continue to play out in 2019 as Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW struggle to maintain the same level of momentum they once did when the competition was far less and interest in switching from traditional solutions was more freely available to take advantage of.

Of the two newer arrivals, YouTube TV currently remains the most affordable priced at $39.99 in the US. However, while Hulu with live TV costs $5 more ($44.99) it does come with the added benefit of access to Hulu’s on-demand back catalog of content. Making it the better value option for those looking for the widest level of access to TV shows and movies overall at the best price.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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