Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming services exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, all thanks to the pandemic. And while their growth is now slowing down, on-demand services are the future of content consumption. However, some people still prefer to watch live TV instead of streaming everything on demand. This is where YouTube TV comes in, which allows you to stream live TV channels over the internet. The cord-cutting service launched in 2017 to take on traditional cable TV services in the US. Five years—and a pandemic—later, it has surpassed an active subscriber base of over 5 million users.

During Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference (via TechCrunch), YouTube's Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan confirmed that YouTube TV has now surpassed over 5 million paid subscribers and "trialers." This means the streaming television service has gained one million subscribers yearly since its launch. While that number sounds impressive, it takes into account users who are currently on a free trial plan as well, so it is bound to be a bit inflated. YouTube TV trial period lasts between 7 days to a couple of weeks, after which you need to subscribe to the base plan at the minimum, which costs $55/month, to continue using the service.

YouTube did not reveal the exact number of paying users for its TV service.

Nonetheless, the five million figure makes YouTube TV the largest TV streaming service in the US, putting it well ahead of Hulu's 4.1 million subscribers. Google had last revealed in Q3 2020 that YouTube TV had over 3 million users. This figure did not include "trialers" and provided a more accurate representation of the service's paid users.

Google launched a YouTube TV referral program in February 2022 that allows you to invite new subscribers to the service at a discounted rate of $10 for the first month. The person who refers you to the service gets a $20 discount once their referral pays full price for YouTube TV. The discounted pricing could have also helped YouTube TV gain new subscribers and "trialers."

The growth is even more impressive when we take into account recent licensing issues YouTube TV experienced. Disney pulled its channels off Google's live streaming service after both parties failed to reach a licensing agreement in December 2021, though the issue was resolved within days.