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YouTube is taking on TV on its home turf, and it’s starting to win

YouTube viewing on actual TV sets is up 70 percent in the last year.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Opens I/O Developer Conference
Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Justin Sullivan / Getty
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

YouTube has been trying to position itself as a TV competitor for years. Now it can say it is making real headway: The video service says viewers are watching 100 million hours of its clips a day on actual television sets.

And it says that number has shot up 70 percent in the last year.

Those stats come from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who announced them as part of his prepared remarks during Google parent Alphabet’s earnings call Thursday.

For the record: Pichai says YouTube is logging 100 million hours of watch time “in the living room every day”; a Google rep confirmed that he was talking about TVs connected to the internet, either directly or via devices like Roku boxes or gaming consoles.

For context: Earlier this year, YouTube said people were watching a billion hours of its videos per day. And YouTube has previously said that the majority of its viewing takes place on mobile devices.

Now Pichai says that a substantial minority of YouTube viewing is happening on TV sets — a direct challenge to the TV programmers that until recently have been able to monopolize that screen.

It’s possible that some of that growth may be coming from YouTube Red, the company’s first subscription service, or from YouTube TV, the pay TV service the company launched earlier this year.

My hunch, though, is that it’s more basic than that. It’s that lots of people are streaming lots of stuff on TVs, and that many of them now want to watch YouTube on there, too.

Which gives traditional TV guys another thing to worry about.

This article originally appeared on

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