YouTube and parent Alphabet are known for how much money they make on ads that pop up on its service. But the company is also seeing success getting people to pay for its services.
YouTube CEO Neal Mohan on Tuesday disclosed that its YouTube TV live streaming service now has 8 million subscribers. This comes on top of the 100 million YouTube Premium and Music subscribers it disclosed last week.
Taken together, it represents a serious business for a company that has historically been all about search and display ads. But it also represents a shift in how people view Google. The company has largely been associated with free or cheap services — think Gmail and basic YouTube itself. But consumers are increasingly warming up to the idea that Google’s services are worth paying for.
Mohan’s blog post reiterated what Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Chief Business Officer Phillipp Schindler said last week on the company’s earnings call, with Pichai noting that the subscription business is an important new driver of growth, and equates to a $15 billion annual revenue business.
Pichai noted that both YouTube Premium and YouTube Music have shown “real momentum,” with both now available in 100 countries.
The 8 million figure is a rare glimpse into YouTube TV, which Alphabet normally doesn’t break out. That total is big enough to make YouTube TV one of the largest pay-TV providers in the nation, although it’s still behind new leader Charter Communication’s Spectrum cable TV, which has 14.1 million subscribers, just 16,000 more than No. 2 Comcast. It’s also the largest live TV streaming service in the business.
Mohan also disclosed that over the last three years, it had paid more than $70 billion to creators that are part of its YouTube Partner Program. There are more than 3 million channels on the program, he said.
Mohan laid out YouTube’s top four priorities, which will have an impact on your experience with YouTube in the coming year. They include the use of artificial intelligence, building out new tools for creators so more of them can create sophisticated videos, investing in subscriptions and YouTube in the living room, and ensuring a healthy experience for families while delivering accurate information.
Mohan also called the living room and subscription “YouTube’s next frontier.” He noted that the number of top creators that received a majority of their watch time on a TV rose by more than 400%. The company plans to roll out new features that make the YouTube experience in the living room more seamless.