YouTube TV raises subscription to $72.99, inching closer to cable pricing

YouTube TV raises subscription to $72.99, inching closer to cable pricing

YouTube TV is getting more expensive again, as its pricing inches closer toward what the cable providers it was supposed to replace are charging. The company announced today that its service is going from $64.99 a month to $72.99 a month, an $8 increase. Anyone starting a new subscription today will have to pay the new price, while current subscribers will be subject to it starting April 18th.

In a tweet, the company says the extra cost comes down to content being more expensive and an investment in service quality. To help soften the blow a little, it also announced that it’s cutting the price of the 4K addon from $19.99 a month to $9.99 a month. If you were already paying for it, that technically means that you’ll come out $2 ahead after the price changes, but anyone considering adding it to their plan should know that 4K is only available on a few select channels (and that, especially in sports, “4K” sometimes means upscaled 1080p).

Subscribers have had to pay more and more for YouTube TV over the years. Thursday’s increase means that, since the service launched in 2017 for $35 a month, it’s more than doubled in price (though it wasn’t available outside of select areas until a few years later). In 2019, the price went from $40 a month to $50, and it skyrocketed just over a year later to $64.99. Often, the changes come with new content — in 2019, it added channels from Discovery like HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet, and 2020 brought content from ViacomCBS, like Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central.

YouTube TV hasn’t announced any new channels today, but the company has undoubtedly been spending money to add content. Last year, it announced that it had nabbed the rights to get the NFL Sunday Ticket, which reportedly cost it $2 billion a year. The company denies that it was that specific deal that triggered the price hike, though. Replying to a tweet, it said, “this price increase is because of the broader rise of content costs & not specifically due to our new football offerings.”

Still, the price increase feels like another step toward the streaming industry becoming more like the cable industry it sought to disrupt. It also means that YouTube TV is now more expensive than Hulu’s $70 a month ad-supported Live TV tier, which also includes access to Disney and ESPN Plus with ads, which could make it a tough sell in comparison (unless, of course, you’re really into the Sunday Ticket).