DirecTV and Fubo share our 2023 Streaming Worse award for worst price increase of the year. While the two live TV streaming services approached their price increases differently, this actually made it harder to choose between them.
Why DirecTV deserves the award
In DirecTV’s case, the argument for the worst price increase in 2023 is a very straightforward one. DirecTV Stream wasn’t the cheapest service at the start of the year and that didn’t stop the company from increasing prices. In fact, DirecTV increased the price not once in 2023, but twice.
The first of these increases arrived in January and affected all plans, including the cheapest Entertainment package. This price increase resulted in the cost of the cheapest DirecTV Stream package rising to $74.99 a month.
Then, in November, DirecTV Stream increased the prices once again. Similar to the first increase of 2023, the November increase affected all plans and resulted in the cheapest Entertainment package climbing up to $79.99 a month. All in all, the cost of the cheapest live TV plan rose by $10 in 2023.
Even though a $10 increase isn’t the highest yearly price increase we’ve seen to date, it was the highest in 2023. In contrast, Fubo increased by $5, Hulu Live TV by $7, Sling TV by $5, and YouTube TV by $8.
Technically, the cost of the cheapest Vidgo package also increased by $10 in 2023, and also over two different price increases. However, those price increases only took the minimum cost of Vidgo up to the price DirecTV Stream was at the start of 2023.
At a minimum of $80 a month, DirecTV Stream is ending 2023 with the most expensive base live TV streaming package, and we think that makes it worthy of the worst price increase of the year award.
Why Fubo deserves the award
While DirecTV Stream deserves the award based on the increase amount combined with bringing the minimum cost of its packages up to $80 a month (a first in streaming), Fubo made a change which massively impacted the cost of its plans.
Fubo not only increased the base price at the start of 2023, but it also increased the price of its Regional Sports Fee. This RSN increase occurred at the same time as adding Bally Sports networks and this resulted in the fee suddenly applying to many more subscribers than ever before.
To put the change into perspective, the cost of the cheapest Fubo package increased by $5 a month in January 2023, taking the price up to a minimum of $74.99. Minimum is an important word here, as most homes signing up to Fubo will find that they are also subject to the RSN fee, increasing the cost again, and by up to $13.99 a month.
As a result, those most affected by this change are likely to have seen their live TV package increase by as much as $18, compared to the start of 2023.
What stops us from outright awarding Fubo with the worst price increase award (based on the overall amount) is that this increase doesn’t affect all subscribers. Instead, those who receive the greatest number of RSNs in their area are the worst impacted. Unlike DirecTV Stream’s two price increases which did impact all subscribers.
Still, it is hard to ignore that some customers may have found their monthly live TV price increase by as much as $18 and that, in our view, is enough for Fubo to also deserve the worst price increase of the year award.
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