Analyst: YouTube TV Sees First-Ever Subscriber Loss as Churn Hits Pricey Live TV Streaming

YouTube logo on Chromecast menu displayed on a TV screen and Chromecast remote control are
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YouTube TV experienced its first-ever quarterly subscriber loss in what appears to be an ominous sign of increasing churn for the live TV streaming sector, according to a new report from analyst Craig Moffett.

While Google-owned YouTube doesn’t publish subscriber data, Craig Moffett estimated that YouTube TV lost 150,000 customers during the first quarter of 2024, saying in the latest edition of his “Cord Cutting Monitor” report that the decline “underscores the growing seasonality of the increasingly sports-driven linear vMVPDs.”

“vMVPDs” is the industry term for subscription streaming services that allow consumers to watch live TV without a cable connection. Others include Hulu with live TV, Sling, FuboTV, and Philo TV.

Live sports has become one of the main draws of such services for sports fans who have cut the cord. But these services are almost all expensive. YouTube TV goes for $72.99 a month, while Hulu with live TV can cost as much as $89.99 a month.

Serial churners” have become a major concern for streamers, but until now, the phenomenon was mostly confined to “SVODs” — or streaming entertainment sites like Netflix.

Now, higher churn appears to be plaguing all areas of the streaming world, including live TV, as households weighed down by inflation cut back drastically on non-essential spending.

The development doesn’t bode well for legacy Hollywood studios that are counting on streaming to help make up for the losses brought on by cord cutting. Live sports programming, in particular, has long been massively profitable for the studios.

In his report, Craig Moffett predicted that live TV streaming services will account for half of the pay TV market by 2028.

The increase in churn and seasonality means more instability for studios, which rely on viewer statistics to charge advertisers.

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