Back when YouTube TV first launched, its base plan cost just $35 per month, less than half of what it costs today. Of course, it is not just the price that has changed over the years, with the channel lineup also having been adjusted multiple times as well.
Considering the addition of more channels has a direct impact on the cost, what would a $40 YouTube TV plan look like if it was available today?
While it is impossible for us to say with any certainty what a $40 YouTube TV plan would look like today, we hope to provide a bit of insight by looking at the channels that were previously available when the base plan did cost that much, and then taking into account some of the changes since then.
Why $40 and not $35? Well, that’s because it seems impossible that the original $35 per month plan would still be priced at $35. Philo is one of the cheapest live TV services around and even its cheapest plan has increased over the years from $16 to $25.
Assuming the $35 plan would encounter at least one price increase, we’ve opted to include YouTube TV’s first price increase, which was $5 per month. Most of the other price increases since then have been around $10 or more and each of them have typically added channels in the process.
As we’re factoring out those channels, and removing channels that have since been removed for various reasons, it probably isn’t unreasonable to assume such a base plan would cost around $40 per month.
What a $40 YouTube TV plan might look like
The first thing to note is just how few channels there are with our $40 plan. While the current base plan unlocks access to more than 100 channels (more than 130 when we checked), our revised plan includes just 45 channels.
In other words, the current YouTube TV base plan lineup includes around three times as many channels as our theoretical $40 plan.
Our YouTube TV $40 channel lineup:
- BBC America
- BBC World News
- CBS Sports Network
- The CW
- Disney Channel
- Disney XD
- Disney Junior
- E Network
- ESPN 2
- ESPN News
- Fox Business
- Fox News
- Golf Channel
- National Geographic
- Nat Geo Wild
- Scripps News
- SEC Network
- Sundance TV
- Universal Kids
- WE TV
- YouTube Red Originals
As mentioned, to get to this plan, we used one of the earlier $35 base plans YouTube TV used to offer. Specifically, what YouTube TV was offering in January 2018.
Since then, that base plan has lost the following channels:
- Fox Sports
- NBC Sports
- Olympic Channel
- Tennis Channel
- YES Network
While some of these (like NBCSN) have since been shut down, others (Tennis Channel and Yes Network) were removed following a dispute. Technically, Tennis Channel has returned to YouTube TV, although it is now part of the Sports Plus premium add-on, which costs an additional $10.99 per month.
There is also Fox Sports. These are the local Fox Sports channels that have since been rebranded as Bally Sports. YouTube TV lost these channels back in 2020 following a dispute with Sinclair.
As a result, and even when assuming a $5 price increase each month, and no additional channels since Jan. 2018, a $40 YouTube TV plan today would offer fewer channels than it did in 2018 when the base plan cost just $35 per month.
A YouTube $40 plan could be a good Sling alternative
One of the things we found interesting when looking at this theoretical $40 YouTube TV plan is how it would compare to Sling TV. After all, Sling offers two main base plans and them both currently cost $40 each.
How our $40 YouTube TV compares to Sling Blue and Sling Orange:
|YouTube TV||Sling Blue||Sling Orange|
|BBC World News||✔|
|Big Ten Network||✔|
|CBS Sports Network||✔|
|Nat Geo Wild||✔|
Based on the comparison above, the $40 YouTube TV plan would offer a ‘best of both worlds’ package, when compared to Sling Blue and Sling Orange, as it brings together popular channels from each lineup, including many of the Fox and NBC channels from Blue, and many of the Disney and ESPN channels from Orange.
While Sling also offers a ‘best of both worlds’ package for $55 per month, and that’s a much higher price than our $40 YouTube TV plan, Sling’s Orange & Blue lineup also includes BET, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, History, ID, Lifetime, NFL Network, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, and TruTV.
All of these, among others, would be missing from our $40 YouTube TV plan, which would likely help to keep the price around that $40 marker. Some of these channels are Discovery channels, and their addition to the YouTube TV base plan in 2019 resulted in another $10 price increase.
Likewise, some of the others were only added to the YouTube TV base plan in 2020, as part of an agreement with ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global), and following a $15 price increase. Around this time is also when NFL Network was added to the YouTube TV base plan.
When taking these differences in mind, we think it is somewhat reasonable to assume that a $40 YouTube TV channel lineup today might look something like what’s listed above. The question now is, would you be willing to pay $40 today for a YouTube TV base plan with this channel lineup?