Both Hulu and YouTube TV have been offering their live streaming services for about a year, but one thing each streaming provider hasn’t done is sell ads that would appear on their linear streams. However, that’s expected to change soon.

If you haven’t cut the cord, you’re well aware that your cable provider sells live ads that appear on the national networks, whether they’re for your local car dealer, appliance store or restaurant. For the national satellite providers like DirecTV and Dish Network, the ads are for various software companies or car insurance.

For Hulu and YouTube TV, it would be a sign that the two companies are at a point where their subscriber bases are large enough for live ads. In the last estimates from CNBC, Hulu with its live TV service had 450,000 subscribers while YouTube TV had about 300,000. The question is whether ad agencies will want to buy commercials on the streaming services right now.

Both Hulu and YouTube TV have other services that could be bundled with their on-demand services to drive higher ad rates, but would the ad buyers want to do that? Both platforms could also allow the ad agencies to purchase certain channels or shows with which they would want to be associated.

While this won’t affect the content you see on either service, it would mean that Hulu and YouTube TV would have more clout. And with the free trials they offer to potential subscribers, the base could increase if viewers like what they see. But there’s also the risk of those viewers not staying with the service.

Hulu and YouTube TV also have a few technical hurdles to work out as well, but it appears that both companies are well on their way to start selling live ads on their services. It’s also a sign that they’re both gaining more popularity among cord cutters.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.