The price of the over-the-top television service YouTube TV is going up—again.
YouTube TV, one of several virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) on the market, is raising its price today to $64.99 a month for new customers, the company announced today in a blog post. Existing customers will see the change reflected in their next billing cycle.
With its latest price hike, the monthly price for YouTube TV has almost doubled since the service debuted three years ago.
“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members,” Christian Oestlien, YouTube TV’s vice president of product management, said in the post announcing the changes. “That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV.”
The price hike comes a few months after the third anniversary of YouTube TV, which first came onto the scene in 2017 as one of several virtual live television offerings on the market, which were once seen to be the saving grace for the television industry as consumers shifted over to over-the-top entertainment options.
But programming is expensive. Just a month ago, YouTube TV signed a new deal with ViacomCBS to bring 14 cable networks to the service, including BET, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. And price hikes have become common in the space.
YouTube TV’s first price at launch was $35, and the service has twice hiked rates before, first to $40 a month and last year in April to $50 a month.
Hulu + Live TV, the streaming service’s live TV option, has raised its price three times and is currently $54.99 a month. Other services, including AT&T TV Now, FuboTV and Sling have also raised prices. Meanwhile, services such as Sony’s live TV product Playstation Vue, have thrown in the towel entirely.
While the economic headwinds may make vMVPD services more appealing to consumers than long-term contracts presented with more traditional television packages, the increasingly higher prices may cause some friction for consumers.
“When you saw a lot of these services launch initially, they actually provided a pretty considerable value to consumers as compared to traditional pay TV,” Sean Buckley, chief revenue officer of the video ad platform SpotX, previously told Adweek. “As the focus has moved from subscriber growth to profitability, though, they’ve started to raise their prices, and that inherently erodes the value proposition.”