Last Wednesday, YouTube announced some changes to its two-year-old live TV service, including a price increase and more content to bring customers the best possible service. Effective immediately, new subscribers to YouTube TV will pay $49.99 a month for the skinny bundle, after a 14-day free trial. Existing subscribers will see the price increase in their next billing cycle after May 13. For many, the price increase equates to $10 a month, unless you pay via Apple. Those users will pay $54.99 a month to account for Apples percentage of the subscription fee.
Though this is a significant price increase, YouTube is justifying it by adding eight new channels from the Discovery network including the Discovery channel, HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and MotorTrend. Also, YouTube is making EPIX available as an add-on, and later this year, YouTube will add OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
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In keeping with our goal of giving you the content you want-when you want it-YouTube TV now includes 70+ networks, six accounts per household (each with its own unique recommendations and cloud DVR with no storage space limits), and three concurrent streams, said Christian Oestlien, vice president of product management for YouTube TV, in an April 10 blog post.
It’s all included in the base cost of YouTube TV. We also provide complete local affiliate coverage, with local feeds from all of the four largest broadcasters in over 90% of the markets where YouTube TV is available, and three of four stations in all the rest. And you can watch YouTube TV on any screen-mobile devices, tablets, computers and TVs. We will continue to expand the list of supported devices, Oestlien added.
YouTube TV touts itself as cable-free live TV on its landing page, offering live TV from over 70 networks, including local sports and news. In addition to the new Discovery channels, subscribers get access to ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, AMC, BBC American, Cheddar Business and Cheddar News, CNBS, CNN, ESPN, MSNBC and much more. Add-ons are also available for an extra cost, including SHOWTIME and Starz. This service is different from YouTube Premium which offers an ad-free, offline and background experience for YouTube and YouTube Music.
This is the companys second price increase in a year. In February 2018, the company announced a $5 per month price increase, taking the skinny bundle from $35 a month to $40 a month, reported TechCrunch. At that time, YouTube TV had approximately 300,000 subscribers and was available in close to 100 markets.
Last month, AT&T also announced a price increase, said Variety. In AT&Ts case, they increased the price of DirecTV Now, their streaming video alternative, by $10 a month, starting in April. This was their second increase in a year as well. Last summer, AT&T increased prices for DirecTV Now by $5 a month. Also, AT&T transitioned away from five bundles to two, simplifying their offerings for subscribers.
Are subscribers getting their moneys worth with a $10 increase for eight new channels? It depends on which channels they watch and what their maximum threshold is cost wise. $50 a month is still pretty reasonable for 70+ channels. Todd Haselton of CNBC speculates that the price increases of live TV and streaming bundles, like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Sling TV, indicate that it is difficult to compete with cable (who, in many cases, is still getting your money for Wi-Fi). It could also be that, now that they have some experience with the live and streaming services, the companies behind the bundles have higher costs than anticipated, and they are trying to compensate for those higher costs.