Go to Reviews.org AU Edition
YouTube TV Price Hike
The cost of YouTube TV is now basically the same as a cable bill
You know the old phrase "I hate to say I told you so"? Yeah, that's s*%#. I love to say I told you so, and I'm saying it today after YouTube TV raised their prices significantly. And I may get to say it again in a few years because I have another moderately bold prediction at the end of this video. Mostly though, our purpose today is to grapple with YouTube TV's announcement of a $15 price hike. Let's dive into this one.
YouTube TV raised the price, so now it’s basically a cable bill
The price change for YouTube TV went from $50 a month to $65 per month. It's huge. Now, it takes effect immediately. It took effect, I think, on June 30th for new subscribers. If you're an existing subscriber, then your billing cycle throughout July, that's when it'll kick in for you. By July 30th, everybody will be on the new price plan, so 65 bucks a month.
I mean 65 bucks a month? Think about it. You add that to your internet bill and you're probably sitting around 140 bucks a month now. If you have a normal cable internet bill or whatever between 50 and 70 bucks a month, you're probably sitting between 120 and 140 if you're subscribed to that plus YouTube TV. Congratulations. You've all just rediscovered your cable TV bundles. Here we are again, right?
Plus, you add onto that whatever on-demand services you've got—Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+—there's another $5, $7, $15 a month that you're paying for other on-demand services. And yeah, the pricing is getting a little bit out of hand because frankly live TV, it's expensive.
>> Read our complete review of YouTube TV.
The change wasn’t just for prices
Now, let's talk about the other change that came in with this pricing announcement because it's not just that the prices increased. They've also added channels to the lineup. Earlier this year, YouTube TV came to an agreement with ViacomCBS to add a bunch of channels to their lineup. Right away, we get eight new channels on YouTube TV: MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, and some within that Viacom family.
There will be others added later. I doubt that they will raise the price again when they add the other channels. I think there's six more that they're going to throw in there as well. But still, honestly, it's a few new channels and some big names. To be clear, these are big name channels but whether it's worth 15 bucks, I'm not sure.
Still, YouTube TV, now that they've got the Viacom channels and they have everything else, it seems to be a pretty well-rounded service. They still have all the Fox Sports channels and the ESPN channels, plus Fox and ABC. Now they have ViacomCBS.
How do the new prices and channels compare to the competition?
But let's take a look now at their competitors and kind of see how YouTube TV is stacking up these days.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu Live's pricing starts at 55 bucks a month and they do not have the Viacom networks that YouTube TV just added, probably because those Viacom networks are expensive. They have a lot of the most popular cable channels out there so it's an expensive package to get. That's why YouTube TV's price went up.
Now, if you go to YouTube TV's pricing comparison page right there on their front page, they are happy to note that the $55 price at Hulu Live does not include the DVR fee, which is 10 bucks. It takes it right up to $65 a month, just like YouTube TV. Fair enough. But at least with Hulu, I have the option to forego the DVR. Now, most people I think will want the DVR, but having the option to not have it and bring that price down is always nice. YouTube TV does not give you that option.
>> Read our complete review of Hulu + Live TV.
Now let's move to Sling TV. They are sticking with their $30 per package for the orange or the blue, or you can go $45 if you want to get the combo. Now, Sling TV just came out with a promise not to raise their prices through August 2021. You have to think that's just a little bit of a slap in the face of all these other services who keep raising their prices, but Sling TV's been doing it too for a little while.
Anyway, the question here is whether people will be willing to forego a few channels to keep the price low. Because that's the selling point for Sling. If you don't care about Fox Sports Networks or if you don't need the ESPN stuff, then you can choose the orange or the blue and keep that price down. But is the price gap going to be enough to push people back to the OG live streaming service? I'm not sure, but Sling TV could possibly see a resurgence with the other services continually raising their prices because Hulu raised their prices a little while ago. Now YouTube TV has done it.
>> Read our complete review of Sling TV.
And fuboTV, which is the next one I want to talk about has, surprise, surprise, raised their prices as well. Five bucks a month per plan will be added on starting on August 1st. We're going to see packages at fubo starting at 60 for the lowest tier, going up to 65 for the middle tier and 80 for their premium tier TV service at fubo.
Is all of this coming as a shock? It shouldn't. I mean, I've been talking about this for a while. These price raises are inevitable. As the services add more and more channels, people demand that they get HGTV or ESPN or whatever other channel they want, the services have to bring these channels on, and it raises the price more and more and more.
>> Read our complete review of fuboTV.
What is the future of streaming?
So here we are, and here is my semi bold prediction. The writing is on the wall. Anybody who's been watching the industry for a while will know that this is coming. But here's the thing, we thought that streaming would be the end of traditional TV. No more cable, no more satellite, hooray. We're all free, right? We can cut the cord. Well, it turns out that in fact, it's the end of live TV as we know it, or at least as we knew it, no matter how we choose to get it, whether it's through cable or satellite, or now the internet.
It's going to take a few more years. This isn't going to happen next week, but the day is getting closer and closer when live TV will be a thing of the past except for sports. And even then, I think it will start to lose a lot of its momentum. One day, some kid is going to ask his parents what it was like to have to just wait until Thursday nights to watch their favorite show, to watch Seinfeld or whatever. "You just had to wait until every Thursday to watch your show?" It's going to be a relic of the past. The only question in my mind is whether live TV is going to have an epic meltdown and disappear overnight, or whether it will slowly and quietly fade away. Personally, my money is on fading away slowly, but I guess we'll see.
The question here is if YouTube TV is still worth it at 65 bucks a month? My answer, nope. Okay for me, it wasn't worth it at 50 bucks, but I'm not really a live-TV watcher. But certainly at 65 bucks a month, that is a tough pill to swallow. But maybe you are a live-TV devotee. Maybe you still watch a lot of that and maybe the awesome DVR at YouTube TV is enough to keep it going in your mind. If so, let us know!