By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, any guesses on how many Sunday Ticket subscribers there are now that YouTube has it? Is it more than DIRECTV? — Ken, Akron, Ohio.
Ken, NBC Sports reported last month that the NFL says the Sunday Ticket has more subscribers on YouTube this year than DIRECTV did last year. But the report did not include any attribution from the league, such as a quote from a league official, or any specific numbers. It also did not say if that included only paying subscribers or paying combined with free subs. As you may know, DIRECTV last year provided the Sunday Ticket for free to new customers and some existing ones.

And this week we have a new report from Bloomberg News quoting a study from the research firm Antenna that says YouTube has 1.3 million Sunday Ticket subscribers compared to 1.2 million for DIRECTV last year. Once again, the report does not specify if we are only referring to paid subscribers or paid combined with free. Antenna bases its data on a variety of sources that track transactions so it’s likely that the free subscribers are not included. If that’s the case, I think the Antenna study actually shows that YouTube has more Ticket paying subs than DIRECTV in 2022, but not overall Ticket customers. It should also be emphasized that this is a research study, not actual numbers from the league or YouTube. Antenna is well regarded in the industry, but it’s not reporting hard data from the actual source, YouTube.

For argument’s sake, let’s say YouTube has 1.3 million Sunday Ticket subscribers. Is that good? Well, it’s not great. Before DIRECTV started giving away the Ticket, it often had 2-3 million paying Ticket subscribers every year. YouTube was supposed to dramatically expand that audience because the Ticket would be available without requiring a satellite dish in most areas for the first time since the Ticket’s launch in 1994. Barely edging DIRECTV’s 2022 Ticket sub total (paid we presume?) is not a big success.

Ken, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann