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YouTube TV Doesn’t Include YouTube Premium (& Might Not Soon)

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A YouTube TV subscription doesn’t include YouTube Premium and that’s unlikely to change in the near future, if ever. Although these are both YouTube services, that doesn’t mean they are any more likely to be integrated with each other than if they were offered by different companies. After all, YouTube and YouTube TV are very different businesses.

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YouTube TV currently costs $65 per month and for that price, subscribers gain access to a wide selection of supported devices, an ever growing channel lineup, an unlimited (and personalized) cloud DVR experience, and the option to add additional networks and channels. All of which makes YouTube TV a rich and robust live TV streaming service.

YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month and provides subscribers with an ad-free viewing experience on YouTube and YouTube Music. It also comes with some additional features as well, such as the ability to watch videos offline or in the background, making YouTube Premium a good option for anyone looking for a richer YouTube experience. However, when it comes to combining services, live TV is a different story.

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Same YouTube, different services

Google has a number of YouTube services and products, and while it does make sense to bundle them, that’s not always possible. For one thing, YouTube has always placed an emphasis on a separate user experience for the standard YouTube and YouTube TV apps. While it is possible to see some integrations between the two, including watching ad-free YouTube videos on YouTube TV, they are separate services and the company has not provided any indications that’s going to change.

Besides the lack of a shared user experience, there is the licensing and rights issue. Combining the two services would certainly benefit the user, but it may not be so easy for YouTube to implement, and certainly at any cheaper of a price than what’s currently offered.

One of the main benefits of bundling services is the discount that’s usually offered as a reason to upgrade. However, YouTube TV already has issues with keeping the price low. Not only has the service lost channels, including Fox Sports RSNs (now Bally Sports), but it has received multiple price increases over time, resulting in one of the more expensive live TV streaming subscriptions around. It is highly likely that, if YouTube was to bundle its live TV and Premium services, it wouldn’t result in a cheaper subscription overall. Due to this, is there any real motivation for YouTube to offer a combined subscription?

Considering YouTube already owns both services and Google charges customers for both services, there isn’t even the benefit of combined billing. Yes, consumers might benefit from having the payment taken out on the same day by the one company, but there’s nothing already stopping subscribers from canceling one service and then resigning up on a basis that ensures their YouTube Premium and YouTube TV subscriptions are paid out on the same day.

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YouTube TV and Premium summary

YouTube TV doesn’t include YouTube Premium and that’s unlikely to change in the future. While combining the two subscriptions would improve the user experience, it is unlikely that Google and YouTube will want to offer both at a discounted bundle price. With Google and YouTube already billing the user for both services, there’s also no benefit of combined billing. If anything, combining the services would likely just result in the same prices, while increasing the price for subscribers who might not want YouTube Premium.

Essentially, there’s no reason for YouTube to offer both services together and that’s likely to be the main reason why the company decides to continue to keep them separate. Although a useful combination, YouTube TV is far more likely to continue prioritizing other bundles and adding more channels over adding YouTube Premium.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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