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

YouTube TV saw its first subscriber decline in a quarter, according to a new report from analyst Craig Moffett, in what appears to be an ominous sign of increased churn in the live TV streaming division.

Google-owned YouTube doesn’t release subscriber data, but Craig Moffett estimated in the latest edition of “Cord-Cutting Monitor” that YouTube TV lost 150,000 customers in the first quarter of 2024. report The decline “highlights the increasing seasonality of sports-centric linear vMVPDs.”

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

Live sports is one of the main draws for sports fans who’ve cut cable, but almost all of these services come at a price: YouTube TV costs $72.99 a month, while Hulu with Live TV costs $89.99 a month.

“Serial churn” has become a major concern for streamers, but until now the phenomenon has been primarily limited to “SVOD,” or streaming entertainment sites like Netflix.

Now, as inflation-hit households drastically cut back on non-essential spending, rising churn appears to be a problem across all segments of the streaming industry, including live TV.

The development doesn’t bode well for Hollywood’s established studios, who have turned to streaming to make up for losses caused by cord-cutting, especially since live sports programming has long been a huge profitable business 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.

Increased churn and seasonality mean more volatility for studios, who charge advertisers based on viewer statistics.

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