Live TV streaming has come a long way since the early days, and with a variety of live TV streaming services to now pick from, consumers have more choice than ever before. What’s more, with no long-term contracts, it is easy for homes to jump from one service to another at a moment’s notice.
All of which makes for an interesting landscape when looking at the number of subscribers each service now has, and how those subscriber bases have changed over time.
Subscriber tracker summary: Feb. 2023
Disclaimer: The information listed in this tracker relates to the most recently confirmed subscriber numbers and does not take into account third-party estimates. Due to this, some of the figures won’t be totally up to date and are dependent on when the company last publicly released data.
Some companies choose not to release any subscriber information making it impossible to know exactly how many subscribers they have.
|DirecTV Stream||656,000||Jan. 2021|
|fuboTV||1.23 million||Nov. 2022|
|Hulu Live TV||4.5 million||Feb. 2023|
|Sling TV||2.4 million||Feb. 2023|
|YouTube TV||5 million||July 2022|
As can be seen by the table above, YouTube TV is currently understood to be the live TV streaming service with the most subscribers in the United States. YouTube TV is followed by Hulu Live TV and Sling TV in second and third place, respectively.
While the pie chart above excludes DirecTV Stream and Vidgo, it does provider some insight into how the main services compare. and how many homes they are delivering live TV to relative to each other.
DirecTV Stream is one of the few services that doesn’t provide information on the number of subscribers. As a result, it is currently unclear just how many there are and how the service compares to the competition. This wasn’t always the case, however. Subscriber numbers were previously revealed during the time when the service was operating as DirecTV Now and AT&T TV Now.
In fact, DirecTV Now started off quite strong and quickly grew beyond one million subscribers. In 2019, the subscriber losses started and continued up until official numbers stopped being reported at the start of 2021 and prior to the DirecTV spinoff.
DirecTV Now/DirecTV Stream subscriber history
DirecTV Now launched in late 2016 and was delivering live TV to more than 200,000 by the start of 2017. That number had risen to 1,200,000 by the start of 2018, and to 1,590,000 by the start of 2019. Following a rebrand to AT&T TV Now, the number of subscribers had dropped down to 926,000 by the start of 2020. The decline did not stop there with the number confirmed to be 656,000 at the start of 2021.
Soon after, the service was rebranded as DirecTV Stream and subscriber numbers were no longer provided.
fuboTV releases updated subscriber information each quarter making it easy to see how the live TV service is doing at any given time. However, unlike many of the other services on this list, fuboTV does operate in multiple countries, so it tends to release separate numbers for North America and International markets, as well as a global total.
fuboTV has continually been making gains over the years. Even though it is not as popular as some other services, fuboTV has consistently been attracting more new users each year.
fuboTV subscriber history
As of the start of 2020, fuboTV was delivering live TV to 315,789 subscribers. One year later and the number of fuboTV subscribers had grown to 547,880. By the start of 2022, the number of fuboTV subscribers totaled 1,130,000, almost double what the service had a year before. Following fuboTV’s third quarter of 2022 report, the number of confirmed subscribers had risen to 1,231,000.
Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV is majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company and subscriber numbers are released each quarter along with the latest basic Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus numbers. In general, Hulu Live TV continues to be one of the more popular live TV streaming services in the United States.
In spite of its popularity, Hulu Live TV does appear to have stalled a little in terms of growth. Hulu quickly climbed up to four million subscribers but its growth has largely leveled off since then. Overall, Hulu Live TV does still seem to be growing, it is just at a slower speed than in previous years.
Hulu Live TV subscriber history
Hulu launched its live TV service in May of 2017 and by September of 2018 was already delivering live TV to more than 1 million. That number had increased to over 3 million by 2020, and 4 million by 2021. However, Hulu has only managed to add another 500,000 since then.
Philo is one of the few companies that doesn’t provide regular updates on the number of subscribers, making it difficult to know how many there are. The last time Philo confirmed the size of its subscriber base was back in November 2020. At which point, Philo was delivering live TV to more than 800,000 subscribers.
Sling TV is owned by Dish and updated subscriber numbers are released each quarter. This routine release of information makes it easy to see how Sling TV is doing over the course of a given year, or years in general.
Sling TV is one of those services that seems to have reached a barrier in terms of new subscribers. While it does continuously see a change to how many subscribers it has each quarter and year, Sling TV has routinely been hovering between 2 and 2.5 million subscribers since 2018.
Sling TV subscriber history
Sling TV launched in 2015 and by the start of 2018 was already providing live TV to more than 2 million homes. Sling TV hasn’t managed to climb above 3 million since then, but also hasn’t dropped below 2 million either.
Similar to DirecTV Stream and Philo, Vidgo is another company that chooses not to release regular information on the number of subscribers. As a result, it remains unclear how many people are paying for live TV through Vidgo.
YouTube is a little inconsistent in terms of when it releases updated YouTube TV subscriber numbers so it is never really clear exactly how many subscribers there are. With no quarterly figures released, it is also near-impossible to know if and when YouTube TV loses any subscribers.
YouTube tends to release milestone announcements confirming the most recent count. For example, YouTube TV issued a press release in July of 2022 confirming that it was delivering live TV to more than 5 million subscribers, making it the most popular live TV streaming service based on the number of subscribers.
YouTube TV subscriber history
YouTube TV initially launched in 2017 but only on a limited basis. It wasn’t until 2019 when the service was available nationwide and by then it had already accumulated more than 1 million subscribers. Each year since then, YouTube TV had roughly added another 1 million subscribers.