If you were to pick one winner in the live TV streaming space for 2022, and chose YouTube TV, it would be a hard pick to argue against. The Google-owned live TV service had a very good year overall, and with 2023 now just around the corner, it already looks like YouTube TV will have another very good year next year. Unfortunately, however, that may result in paying a higher price for live TV.
YouTube TV is only one of many subscription services that homes can choose to stream live TV over the internet with. By all accounts, it is a relatively newer service compared to others. Not to mention, it is also a somewhat expensive option, considering the cheapest live TV package costs $64.99 per month. While YouTube TV does technically also offer a $35 Spanish plan, the $65 package is the one most homes are probably signed up to.
In general, 2022 proved to be a good year for YouTube TV. This was the year when YouTube TV officially confirmed it had reached 5 million subscribers, a first for any of the main live TV streaming services. The announcement effectively confirmed YouTube TV’s position as the most popular option, putting it ahead of Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, and DirecTV Stream.
2022 was also the year when YouTube TV suddenly unlocked the option to sign up to various subscription services without actually needing to also be signed up to a base plan. While signing up to third-party subscriptions in this way doesn’t make them any cheaper, it does further help to establish YouTube TV as more than a live TV streaming service. More importantly from YouTube TV’s perspective, it keeps homes using the service even when they aren’t paying for live TV.
What also made 2022 a pretty good year for YouTube TV, more specifically, its subscribers, was the lack of a price increase. While most of the other streaming services upped their prices in 2022, YouTube TV has now gone more than two years without a price hike. The lack of a price increase during this time has helped YouTube TV to remain competitive and in spite of significantly increasing the cost back in 2020.
YouTube TV’s 2023 might be even better
With the new year now almost here, you don’t have to go too far to find predictions on what will happen in streaming and elsewhere. While none of us can really know what will happen over the next 12 months, early indications do point to YouTube TV setting itself up for another very good year.
For starters, there’s the NFL Sunday Ticket. After being part of DirecTV for years, YouTube TV managed to beat out plenty of competition to secure the rights to Sunday Ticket starting from next season. This alone is a big win for YouTube TV and one which will very likely help fuel additional signups once the new season rolls around. Considering YouTube TV is already a leader in live TV streaming, Sunday Ticket could help to extend that lead even more.
Then there’s Mosaic Mode. For some time now, YouTube TV has been rumored to be working on a new multi-screen mode which would allow subscribers to watch multiple games at the same time on the one screen. fuboTV already offers a similar (Multiview) feature, and it works great, although it is limited to just Apple TV at the moment. If YouTube TV’s version works as expected, it will be another major play for sports fans, and another clear reason to sign up to YouTube TV.
Even though very few details have been confirmed by the company, it is now expected that Mosaic Mode, or whatever it is officially called at launch, will arrive in time for the debut of Sunday Ticket. At the very least, it is expected to arrive at some point in 2023 and become another standout feature for the service.
Price increase could be a 2023 downside
In spite of all signs pointing to a good 2023 for YouTube TV, there is the worry that a price increase is only just around the corner, and any further increase in the cost of a subscription might take some shine off YouTube TV’s year. As already mentioned, it has been more than two years since the last YouTube TV price increase and that in itself is a warning sign that one cannot be too far away.
Adding to this, there’s the NFL Sunday Ticket to pay for. While YouTube TV has yet to actually confirm how Sunday Ticket will work, it would seem likely that YouTube TV wants to offset some of the cost. If that happens by making Sunday Ticket available as a separate add-on that subscribers pay for on top of the cost of the base plan, sports fans will see the cost of their monthly YouTube TV package increase.
If YouTube TV simply opts to include Sunday Ticket with the base package, then it seems even more likely that subscribers will see an increase in their monthly plan. This route would actually be the most damaging considering it would affect all homes, including those that aren’t particularly interested in live sports. At the same time, spreading the cost across all subscribers may help to lower the increased cost that each subscriber pays.
Regardless of whether Sunday Ticket is used to justify a price increase or not, it seems highly unlikely that YouTube TV will manage to make it through another calendar year without increasing the cost in some way. If it does, that would be some achievement, and would almost certainly lead to 2023 being a better year than 2022 was for YouTube TV.