Chances are, if you pay for a streaming alternative to live cable TV in the United States, your bills are about to go up, thanks to a glut of Tuesday announcements.
First up is YouTube TV, which announced a 30 percent price hike, its largest since rolling out as a product in 2017, effective immediately for all customers. The news came at the end of a lengthy announcement of various new channels, which users cannot opt out of, all coming from the CBS/Viacom family of cable TV networks.
Brand-new customers can expect to pay $65/mo for the service from here on out, while existing customers will see the price jump from $50 to $65 on their July bill. Shortly after mentioning the new price point, YouTube TV VP Christian Oestlien directed users to this landing page to pause or cancel their service if they want to.
If this whole story sounds familiar, you’re not imagining things. In April 2019, Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin wrote an article titled “YouTube TV adds channels and raises price—you can’t opt out of either change.” That move saw the service raise its monthly price from $40 to $50 (25 percent) while adding nine channels. Today’s $15 jump adds the following eight networks: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, and VH1.
Higher prices for the AT&T family
The other family of streaming and TV services to see a price hike today comes from AT&T, whose AT&T TV (a streaming-only product with rates and plans that resemble standard cable contracts) and DirecTV (a standard satellite-TV product) are each seeing their new-customer rates jump.
Without a formal announcement from AT&T on these rate changes, we’ve referred to TV Answer Man’s guide, which suggests a $10 jump in monthly cost for every single tier of service on the aforementioned services. Existing customers’ rates do not yet appear to be affected, however, and we haven’t seen price hikes yet attached to AT&T TV Now (a streaming-only product formerly known as DirectTV Now).
And if that slew of product lines confuses you, remember, it confuses AT&T executives as well. Perhaps that’s why the company went to the trouble of killing a fourth pillar of paid TV service, AT&T WatchNow, which, as of Tuesday, informs users that it is “no longer available for new sign ups or to re-subscribe.” Existing subscribers to compatible AT&T Unlimited plans can still access the service, but its previous availability as an a la carte add-on for $15, delivering live cable TV networks’ programming, has been waved away in favor of HBO Max, a $15/mo video-on-demand service.
These price spikes come less than three months after AT&T disclosed a massive 890,000 drop in premium TV service subscribers.