YouTube TV has passed 8 million subscribers, cementing its place as one of the top U.S. pay-TV services just seven years after its launch.
That stat was among several revelations by YouTube CEO Neal Mohan in his annual letter about the state of the Google-owned video giant. Another eye-catching number was the daily average of 1 billion hours of YouTube viewing via a TV screen.
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The YouTube TV figure is the first subscriber tally provided by the company since it said in 2022 that it had cleared the 5 million mark. While rival internet-delivered services like Fubo and Hulu + Live TV have posted modest subscriber gains, YouTube TV is now in a much higher weight class and is adding share as Comcast, Charter and DirecTV continue to shrink.
In addition to the reduced friction of the consumer experience compared with traditional cable and satellite subscriptions, YouTube TV has also benefited from last year’s start of NFL Sunday Ticket as an add-on option. While it is also available from YouTube’s channel store to non-YouTube TV subscribers, the NFL package exceeded management projections in terms of driving sign-ups, execs have said in recent months.
Sunday Ticket, which shifted from DirecTV after 29 years in a 7-year, $14 billion deal, “shows the future of YouTube,” Mohan wrote. “We’re bringing everything viewers love about YouTube to the living room experience. And that includes sports.”
Viewing of YouTube content on TV screens, long a go-to statistic of the company at its Brandcast event for advertisers, has continued to grow as streaming’s increasing overall dominance. Viewers are “watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows – on the biggest screen in the home with friends and family,” Mohan wrote.
The expansion of living room audience is enlarging the pot of ad dollars, with proceeds filtering back to channel owners, Mohan said. There are now 3 million channels in the YouTube Partner Program, which has paid creators, artists and media companies $70 billion over the past three years, more than any other creator monetization platform.
“Creators are thinking about how to optimize their content for the living room, and it’s easy to see why – it’s where their audience is watching!” Mohan wrote. In the last three years, he added, the number of top creators getting a majority of their views on the big screen increased more than 400%. Bucking expectations, Shorts – YouTube’s answer to TikTok – is contributing significantly to that upswing, the company has said.
Mohan took over as CEO of YouTube in 2023.