Skip to main content

What is the biggest streaming live TV service?

NFL studio show on Hulu Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is the largest live TV streaming provider in the United States. (Image credit: CordCutters)

There's no shortage of streaming services that provide live TV in the United States. Otherwise known as a multi-channel video programing distributor (MVPD), these are services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now, Sling TV, FuboTV, and Philo. They have multiple channels — some have multiple packages of channels — and other bells and whistles that they're happy to sell you for a monthly subscription.

So which is the largest live TV streaming service in the United States? Here's how it breaks down (we think) as of Nov. 12, 2020:

  1. Hulu with Live TV (4.1 million subscribers as of Oct. 3, 2020)
  2. YouTube TV (More than 3 million subscribers as of Oct. 29, 2020)
  3. Sling TV (2.458 million subscribers as of September 30, 2020)
  4. Philo (750,000 subscribers as of August 2020)
  5. AT&T TV Now (683,000 subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2020)
  6. Fubo TV ( 545,000 subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2020)

Hulu with Live TV is the largest provider of streaming live television in the United States, with some 4.1 million paid subscribers. It's been buoyed in no small part by the massive success that is Disney+, which has brought more eyeballs to Hulu thanks to a pretty major bundle that includes Hulu's video-on-demand service with ESPN+ and Disney+ for just $12.99 a month.

If you get it on its own, Hulu with Live TV runs $54.99 a month.

Second place appears to have fleshed itself out a bit. Google on Oct. 29, 2020, announced that YouTube TV has more than 3 million subscribers. There's a good chance that if it knew it had more than Hulu with Live TV's 3.4 million subs, it would have said so.

That leaves Sling TV at No. 3, with 2.458 million subscribers as of its Q3 earnings, reported on Sept. 30, 2020. That's down from the 2.311 million paid subscribers it reported as of May 7, 2020.

Fourth place goes to Philo. It's small — just 63 channels — but you can't beat the price tag of $20 a month. That's why it's a great option for those who are only on an over-the-air antenna, or have a bare-bones streaming plan. 

Fifth place is owned squarely by AT&T TV Now. (Which used to be called DirecTV Now.) Note that this is the streaming-only arm of AT&T's massive video category. There's also the similarly named AT&T TV, which requires proprietary hardware from AT&T hooked into an AT&T internet connection. 

AT&T TV Now's numbers have been steadily dropping as well, falling 46 percent year over year to land at 683,000 paid subscribers as of September 30, 2020.

And in sixth place is FuboTV. There's no doubt that it's the smallest of the bunch at an estimated 545,000 paid subscribers as of the end of 2020. It's definitely still growing, putting up better-than-expected numbers in Q4, and a 72 percent increase year over year. (Fubo puts more emphasis over the yearly numbers because it focuses on sports, which can vary greatly from quarter to quarter.)

The question now is how long it will take for FuboTV to overtake AT&T TV Now.