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Would You Pay For An Annual Live TV Plan?


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Would you pay for an annual live TV streaming plan? With the cost of live TV ever-increasing, remaining subscribed for an entire year can be an expensive endeavor, and especially if you sign up with one of the more premium services like Fubo, Hulu live TV, or YouTube TV. Signing up and paying for a year in advance would be one way homes could save on the cost each year.

Of course, one of the reasons live TV streaming has proven so popular in recent years is the lack of any real commitments. You don’t need any service-specific equipment, most of the time, and you don’t need to commit to a long-term plan. Instead, you can pay for a month of live TV and cancel before the end of the same month.

That said, these equipment and commitment-free benefits also apply to regular subscription streaming services like Apple TV Plus, Max, and Paramount Plus, and yet they all offer annual plans as well. So why should consumers not at least have the option to sign up and pay for an annual live TV plan?

The main, and only real, reason to ever consider signing up on an annual basis is to save money. While each service is different, almost all subscription services that offer an annual plan tend to offer two months free. In other words, you sign up today, pay the full price for 10 months, but are free to stream for twelve months.

Using Peacock as an example, those signing up to the $4.99/mo. Premium plan can pay $49.99 per year instead, a saving of $9.98, which is two months free. Likewise, those signing up to the $11.99/mo. Paramount+ with Showtime plan can opt to pay $119.99 per year, a saving of $23.89, which is two months for free again.

How much annual live TV plans could cost (and how much you might save)

If applying this same ‘two free months’ rule we can take a look at how much subscribers might be able to save each year on live TV. When signing up to YouTube TV, for example, subscribers currently pay $72.99 per month for the base plan. This comes to a total of $875.88 over the course of a full year.

If we then assume an annual plan would offer two months for free, this would work out to be $145.98 saved over twelve months, bringing the annual total down to $729.90. As these annual plans are typically rounded, a YouTube TV yearly subscription is likely to be priced at $729.99, which breaks down to an average monthly cost of $60.83.

Sling TV’s live TV packages are much cheaper than YouTube TV’s. For example, its Sling Orange and Sling Blue plans both cost $40 per month each, and over a full year, this works out to be $480.

If then applying the same annual plan rule to these live TV packages, the saving would be $80 over twelve months, bringing the total down to $400 for the year. Assuming the annual plan is then priced at $399.99, this would break down to around $33.33 per month on average.

With the option to sign up to Sling TV for as little as $33.33 per month on average or YouTube TV for as little as $60.83 per month on average, there would be a clear incentive for homes to sign up and remain subscribed for an entire year, lowering the churn rate of these services.

Below is an example of how much it could hypothetical cost (and how much you could save) if all the major live TV services offered an annual plan.

(12 months)
Annual plan
Average p/m
DirecTV Stream$74.99$899.88$749.99$62.49
Hulu Live TV$69.99$839.88$699.99$58.32
Sling TV$40$480$399.99$33.33
YouTube TV$72.99$875.88$729.99$60.83

Those that want to retain the freedom of canceling whenever they want would still have the option of signing up on a monthly basis and paying the non-discounted rate.

Annual live TV plans are not unheard of

While all of the most popular live TV streaming services don’t offer an annual plan, yearly packages are not totally unheard of. For example, Frndly TV does offer a yearly subscription tier for its live TV packages.

Frndly TV is designed to be an affordable live TV service in general. It offers access to more than 40 channels and its plans cost between $6.99 and $10.99 per month.

If signing up to the cheapest Basic plan ($6.99/mo), it is possible to pay $69.99 for the year instead, which works out to be a saving of $13.89 over twelve months. If opting for the Classic plan ($8.99/mo.), the annual subscription costs $89.99, a saving of $17.89. For those signing up to the Premium plan ($10.99/mo.), the annual subscription costs $109.99 per year, which works out to be a saving of $21.89.

Frndly TVCost
(12 months)
Annual planAverage

Again, all of these annual savings are roughly the equivalent of two months for free, further highlighting that it is possible for a live TV provider to offer the same annual savings that many subscription services already offer.

The question now is, would you be willing to sign up and pay $250 for a year of Philo or $400 for a year of Sling TV? Alternatively, between $700 and $750 for a year’s worth of DirecTV Stream, Fubo, Hulu Live TV, Vidgo, or YouTube TV?

John Finn


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