YouTube TV is not expected to encounter another price increase soon, according to YouTube’s Chief Product Officer. This will be welcome news to existing YouTube TV subscribers, as well as those considering signing up to the service for the first time. However, no price increase soon is not the same as no price hike in general.
Live TV streaming has proven to be a costly pastime for many. While streaming alternatives can be, and typically are, cheaper than traditional cable and satellite plans and packages, a lot has changed over the last few years. For example, YouTube TV alone has increased in price from $35 to $65 per month. Effectively, almost doubling in price.
With the last YouTube TV price increase having arrived in July of 2020, some may be wondering if another one is due, especially as they seem to arrive at least once per year. However, in comments given to The Verge, Neal Mohan indicated there are no current plans for a price increase in the immediate future. Specifically, Mohan said, “There’s not another price hike or anything in the near term.”
The “near term” does not suggest that YouTube TV subscribers should not expect another price increase at some point. In the same conversation, Mohan pointed to the “economic realities” of delivering live TV, while also highlighting how the service has responded to user demand by adding wanted channels to the base bundle. What was less clearly implied, was how these additional channels come with their own costs which inevitably are passed on to the consumer.
4K & Sports Plus add-ons probably help
One of the more recent changes to YouTube TV was the launch of the 4K Plus and Sports Plus add-ons. YouTube TV already offered a selection of premium channels that can be added, and even bundled together, but these Plus add-ons are a little different in the sense that they add channels packs and premium features. Previously, YouTube TV might have just bundled them with the base plan and upped the price accordingly.
However, by offering them as separate add-ons that either adds new features or increases the amount of sports content, the cost shifts from being compulsory to optional. This approach likely allows YouTube TV’s base subscription cost to remain as it is, while still providing subscribers with the option to upgrade and pay more if they want more.
Of course, that’s this time around and likely what Moran is referring to with the ‘near term’ comments. As and when YouTube TV has to renegotiate carriage terms with a channel provider or wants to add more channels to the base package, it is likely a price increase will be on the table as well. For now, however, it seems subscribers won’t have to worry about a YouTube TV price increase… in the near term.