DirecTV Now Hulu_with_live_TV_7

Published on February 20th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


Sling TV still #1 live streaming service as DirecTV Now and Hulu battle for second

The fight for live streaming service supremacy is neck-and-neck for second place as new numbers indicate Hulu with Live TV has caught up with DirecTV Now for consumer acceptance.

The data from media research consultancy TDG shows Sling TV remained the most popular service among American consumers at the end of 2018 with 2.42 million subscribers, followed by Hulu with Live TV at 1.6 million, and DirecTV Now snipping at its heels with 1.59 million. Making up a group of others at 2.29 million includes Philo, FuboTV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue.

live_streaming_service_sub_nmbrs_tdg_2TDG believes the growth of Hulu with Live TV as directly connected to consumers subscribing to its Hulu video-on-demand service and believes the service has a strategy for the long term.

“[Hulu] has been advertising Hulu Live TV to growing base of on-demand users for a couple years now, and as legacy pay-TV prices continue to increase, the value of switching to Hulu has slowly become more apparent,” Michael Greeson, President and Director of Research at TDG, told BESTAppleTV. “It may take a while to sink in, but Hulu is willing to wait. The fact that DirecTV Now’s previous discounts expired in the last half of 2018, undoubtedly leading to subscriber exodus, makes Hulu’s live TV plus [their] on-demand arsenal all the more powerful.”

The drop in subscribers for DirecTV Now is not surprising. Its owner, AT&T, announced in January it had lost 267,000 customers in the fourth quarter of 2018, in part due to the termination of all promotions and special deals including a nine-month-long offer on a free 32GB Apple TV 4K to new customers. That offer was terminated in September of 2018.

The TDG numbers are based on official figures from some streaming services, with others based on internal research that has proven to be historically accurate. DirecTV Now provides subscriber numbers, while Hulu does not.

PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV both have not announced official subscriber figures, but reports put them at around 500,000 and 800,000 subscribers, respectively. Philo has not released numbers. In October 2018, fuboTV said that it was approaching 250,000 total subscribers.

All the services mentioned in the subscriber numbers are available as standalone apps on Apple TV devices.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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