What are the most searched streaming services?

Joe Supan
Joe Supan
Jun 25, 2019

Add streaming services to the list of things that are dividing Americans. 

According to data from Google Trends, YouTube TV is the most-searched streaming service in wealthier states, while viewers in lower-income states overwhelmingly search for DIRECTV NOW.

Of the top 10 states where YouTube TV has the highest search interest, five of them are also in the top 10 for median household income, according to the most recent census. On the flip side, YouTube TV didn’t have nearly as much search interest in poorer states — none of YouTube TV’s top ten states for search interest fell in the bottom ten for median household income.

DIRECTV NOW shows the opposite effect. Of the ten states that had the most search interest in the service, five of them — Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arkansas — are also in the bottom ten for median household income. DIRECTV NOW was only popular in one state in the top ten for median household income, Alaska. 

Sling TV had a similar showing to DIRECTV NOW in this regard, but it wasn’t quite as pronounced. It had more search interest than any other streaming service in Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota — six states that have an average ranking of 38 for median household income. 

You can see the effect clearly when comparing the average household income ranking for each service’s top ten states. With wealthier states like Massachusetts and California searching the most for YouTube TV, it had an average income ranking of 12.7, while DIRECTV NOW was towards the bottom with 31.5. (Sling, by comparison, came in at 31.5, while PlayStation Vue had 18.8 and Hulu 24.)

Why are wealthier states searching for YouTube TV?

YouTube TV isn’t necessarily a cheaper way to get TV. It’s just a better way. 

With its extensive advertising campaigns and sponsorships of sporting events like the NBA Finals, it’s not surprising that YouTube TV has drummed up interest in its service. What is striking is how that interest seems to be concentrated in the upper classes.

It makes sense on a basic level: YouTube TV isn’t really that cheap. At $50/mo., it probably won’t shave off that much from your monthly entertainment bill.

It does, however, offer a better user experience than any other streaming service. Its interface is the sleekest of the bunch, it offers unlimited DVR storage and three simultaneous streams, and it has an impressive 85 channels in its lineup.

Why are DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV popular in poorer states?

DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV, by contrast, position themselves as a cheaper alternative to cable and satellite TV. When DIRECTV NOW first came out, its packages started at $35 — significantly less than what you’d pay traditional TV providers. Likewise, Sling is marketed as a “skinny bundle,” with its first two tiers currently starting at $15/mo. If you’re looking to save money by cutting the cord, these are great places to start.