YouTube TV is one of the most popular live TV streaming services on the market. But it’s also one of the most expensive.
YouTube TV launched as a cable and satellite competitor back in February 2017 with a $35 per month price tag. Steady price hikes have slowly but surely moved the base cost for the service up to $65 per month.
If you’re like me, you may be wondering when the price increases will end!
It has reached a point that some consumers are wondering if they’re better off returning to their local cable companies — back to bundling to get live and on-demand television with their internet and phone services.
A recent comment from YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan shed some positive light on the future of pricing for the streaming service.
“There’s not another price hike or anything in the near term,” Mohan recently told The Verge’s Decoder podcast.
That’s not exactly a guarantee, as YouTube TV has promised things like “lifetime pricing” before and then backed off, but it may give you some comfort that the subscription price is likely to remain $65 for the remainder of 2021.
YouTube TV Executive Speaks on the Future of Pricing
During a long-form interview with The Verge’s Decoder podcast, Mohan was asked about the pricing model for YouTube TV.
He was hesitant to speak about how the service views the future of streaming TV in a “bundle vs. a la carte” subscription philosophical debate, but he did say that the current $65 per month price point may be here to stay for the near future.
Here’s a snippet of his discussion with Nilay Patel:
The Verge: “YouTube TV, another product that you are responsible for, recapitulates a cable bundle. The price of it is going back up towards the price of a standard cable bundle. What’s the future of that product? Does it remain a big linear TV bundle or are you going to disaggregate it in some way?”
Mohan: “I shouldn’t talk about how we’re thinking about it in the future. What I would say is there’s the economic realities of how content pricing works and the like. A lot of what you’ve seen in YouTube TV in terms of the new channels that we’ve added have been driven by user demand. Users have asked for that content to be explicitly added to the bundle as it exists on YouTube TV. So that’s what you’ve seen there.
“We are also very focused on making it easy for users to add add-ons, to give them the flexibility of what else they’re looking for in the package. And we’re also doing more around either content-vertical type bundles or even feature type bundles. You saw that with the 4K bundle on YouTube TV. So we’re trying to bring more choice to our users. And a lot of it is, frankly, just driven by the feedback that we hear from YouTube TV users. There’s not another price hike or anything in the near term.“
Why YouTube TV Raised Prices
YouTube TV customers experienced a $15 per month increase from $49.99 to the current $64.99 pricing in August 2020.
The price hike was in direct correlation with the stream service’s announcement that it had added several key ViacomCBS channels to its bundle of channels.
That included popular channels including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and more.
Later that year, YouTube TV chose not to renew its contract with Sinclair Broadcasting, which provides access to many regional sports networks that carry local MLB, NBA, NHL and college sports teams. This move upset many customers especially since there was no price reduction concurrent with that content loss.
In July 2021, YouTube TV unveiled options for 4K viewing, downloads for offline consumption and unlimited concurrent streams at home, but those are part of an add-on that can raise your monthly bill by as much as another $20.
YouTube TV also has made headlines recently for a fallout with Roku that makes it harder to stream the service on Roku devices.
More About YouTube TV
There are some quick things you should know about YouTube TV beyond the additions I’ve outlined in this article.
Team Clark considers this service to be one of the top options in the live TV streaming market thanks to its family-friendly content and functionality, the wide variety of channels that include loads of live sports and the unlimited cloud DVR functionality that comes included with the base subscription price.
Money expert Clark Howard is a YouTube TV subscriber.
“What interests me about YouTube TV is the unlimited DVR and the versatility with how many people can be watching at the same time and how many individual accounts you can have,” Clark says.
Check out our full review of the streaming service here, and compare it to other live TV streaming services here.
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