Today, sources revealed to CNBC that Hulu with Live TV now has 450,000 paid subscribers -- "not including recent promotional customers" -- while YouTube TV has just over 300,000 as of the beginning of 2018.
Although neither service has been on the market for one full year, the sources delivering the subscriber numbers said that each company is "making some progress" in convincing users to cut the cord. However, analyst Rich Greenfield commented that any company offering a live TV streaming service may have trouble substantially growing their subscriber base "because canceling is so easy" and basic on-demand versions of Hulu and YouTube could be enough for many users.
"If you don't care about live sports, the original Hulu product is awesome," Greenfield said. "You can get all of the programming you want for more than $30 less. And YouTube is free. It actually shows you how poor the value proportion is for live TV."Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV are both beaten out by DirecTV Now and Sling TV, which were previously reported to have reached 1 million and more than 2 million paid subscribers, respectively. Another contender is PlayStation Vue, reported at 455,000 subscribers in Q3 2017. The subscriber numbers reported by CNBC today have not been confirmed by Hulu or YouTube, so there is still no official word regarding how accurate the data might be.
[...] cable and satellite TV are stickier businesses than web-based services because they're so difficult to cancel, Greenfield said. "You can cancel these live streaming services with four clicks of a button," Greenfield said. "Have you tried canceling your cable?"
In terms of price, Hulu with Live TV starts at $39.99/month (this includes Hulu's on-demand service) and YouTube TV starts at $35/month. Hulu's service is also technically still in the beta phase, and on the FAQ section of its website Hulu states, "While we are truly proud of Hulu's live TV offering, we know that introducing any new service can come with "hiccups" from time to time, so we are first opening it up as a "Beta" to be transparent with our viewers."
Since some of these over-the-top services are still new, many of them are in the process of adding a few user-requested features following their launches. At CES, Hulu announced Live TV will get a more traditional guide interface for browsing channels, and DirecTV Now customers are waiting for its cloud DVR to launch sometime in 2018. In the first quarter of 2018, YouTube TV also plans to debut an app for the Apple TV.