news 2 months ago

YouTube TV Hikes Price by 30% to $65 per Month With Launch of ViacomCBS Channels

Variety — Todd Spangler

So-called internet skinny bundles aren’t skinny anymore — and they’re not really a bargain compared with traditional cable or satellite TV, either.

YouTube announced that the price of YouTube TV has increased to $64.99 per month. That’s a jump of 30% from the previous $50 monthly fee and comes after YouTube TV last raised prices a little over a year ago.

The higher price takes effect Tuesday (June 30) for new members. Existing subscribers will see the higher fee reflected in their subsequent billing cycle on or after July 30, YouTube said.

The price increase comes as YouTube TV launches eight ViacomCBS channels today: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1. In addition, BET Her, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nick Jr., NickToons, and TeenNick are also set to come to YouTube TV at a later date.

“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members. That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV,” Christian Oestlien, VP of product management for YouTube TV, said in a blog post announcing the price hike.

Google first launched YouTube TV in 2017, priced at $35 per month for 40 channels. As of the end of March 2020, YouTube TV had an estimated 2.3 million subscribers — one of the only pay-TV services in the U.S. to register any growth in the first quarter of the year.

YouTube TV isn’t alone among the over-the-top TV players in raising prices. Hulu + Live TV now starts at $54.99 (after a price hike last fall) and Dish Network’s Sling TV raised rates 20% last December. Meanwhile, FuboTV’s base package also is $54.99 per month, but that could be going up after the company inked a deal to add ESPN and other Disney-owned networks to the OTT package later this summer.

YouTube TV now provides more than 85 channels, including local TV stations in nearly all U.S. markets. It provides a DVR with unlimited storage space, plus six accounts per household and up to three concurrent streams.

With the price change, Oestlien added, “we understand that some of you may choose to pause or cancel your membership.” She directed YouTube TV customers to this link to pause or cancel their service.

YouTube has steadily added new features, like “Dark Mode,” which tones down glare with a dark background, and the ability to select “Mark as Watched” on desktop and mobile devices for any TV show you’ve already seen. The service also has a redesigned Live Guide on desktop to display programming that’s currently on and scroll ahead seven days.

In addition, YouTube TV just launched a new feature that will let viewers “jump to various segments within select news programs on YouTube TV,” according to Oestlien. On some new programs, you will be able to jump to specific news clips within a recording (similar to YouTube TV’s “key plays” view for sports). That’s currently available on connect-TV devices and will come to mobile devices in the next few weeks.

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