Streaming services are a dime-a-dozen these days, with even more on the way. Hulu and YouTube’s live TV options appear to be doing well enough.
Based on analyst data, Bloomberg is reporting on Friday that Hulu’s live TV streaming service is nearing 2 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Google’s own effort with YouTube TV has just surpassed 1 million subscribers of its own. The report states that the two options doing so well for themselves indicates they could be “outmaneuvering” competitors like AT&T’s DirecTV Now or Sling TV.
“The companies created the live services, known as “skinny bundles,” to broaden their offerings and compete with similar packages from conventional pay-TV distributors like Dish Network Corp., the owner of Sling TV, and AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV. The idea is to offer a narrow lineup of channels, from programmers like CBS and ESPN, as a low-cost alternative to cable’s hundreds of channels, most of which people don’t watch.”
It is worth noting here that while these companies do offer “slim bundles”, in the case of Hulu that company is reportedly considering trimming things down even further. It was reported back in October of last year that Hulu was thinking about slimming down its available services for live TV even further. The company was anticipating other companies removing their content anyway, as stand-alone streaming services are all the rage these days.
However, with Disney reportedly on the brink of taking over WarnerMedia’ remaining stake in Hulu, that company is looking to boost Hulu’s content even more.
The report also indicates that a better user experience offered by Hulu TV and YouTube TV are helping the platforms stand out:
“They’ve done a better job of branding,” Wolk said. ‘The interfaces are slick and modern looking, Hulu in particular.’ It also helps that neither YouTube nor Hulu is a cable or satellite company, which routinely rank among the least admired by U.S. consumers.”
All of this leads to so many questions regarding Apple’s own effort. We are expecting to see the company show off its streaming service at an event on March 25 of this year. What will the service look like? How will Apple surface new content versus recurring episodes that subscribers are watching? Just how many millions of subscribers can Apple get right out of the gate (without counting a free trial)?