YouTube TV Price Hike Nears Cable Costs, Raises Questions About Streaming’s Disruptive Edge

Subscription fees increase as content costs rise, 4K addon price slashed to soften the blow

YouTube TV Price Hike Nears Cable Costs, Raises Questions About Streaming's Disruptive Edge

YouTube TV is raising its subscription fees once more, approaching the price range of the cable services it aimed to supplant. The platform has revealed that its monthly charge will be raised by $8, going from $64.99 to $72.99. This new price will be applicable to new subscribers immediately, while existing users will see the change on April 18th.

According to the company, this price hike is due to the increased cost of content and the need to invest in improving service quality. As a consolation, YouTube TV is lowering the monthly fee for its 4K addon from $19.99 to $9.99. Subscribers who were already paying for the 4K addon will see a net savings of $2 following these price adjustments. However, potential subscribers should be aware that 4K is only accessible on a limited number of channels, and in some cases, such as sports, “4K” may refer to upscaled 1080p.

Over the years, the cost of YouTube TV has steadily risen. Launched in 2017 at $35 per month, the service has more than doubled in price since then, though it was initially available only in select regions. The price jumped to $50 in 2019, adding channels such as HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet from Discovery, while 2020 saw the introduction of ViacomCBS content, including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, alongside another price increase to $64.99.

Though no new channels have been announced as part of the latest price increase, YouTube TV has been actively investing in content acquisition. The platform secured the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket last year at a reported annual cost of $2 billion. However, the company has denied that this specific deal is responsible for the price hike, attributing it to a general rise in content costs.

This latest increase further aligns the streaming sector with the traditional cable industry it once sought to disrupt. As a result, YouTube TV’s pricing now surpasses Hulu’s ad-supported Live TV package, which costs $70 per month and includes Disney and ESPN Plus access. This could make YouTube TV a harder sell, unless subscribers are particularly drawn to the NFL Sunday Ticket offering.

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