Sony is raising the cost of its over-the-top, pay-TV service PlayStation Vue by $5 a month for all four tiers of customers, the company announced today in a blog post. Sony does not give a concrete explanation for the price increase, other than to attribute it to “rising business costs.” PlayStation Vue’s cheapest plan, called Access, will now cost $44.99, instead of $39.99, a month, while its most expensive Ultra package will now cost $84.99. Sony removed its cheapest Slim package last July.
It is very likely that Sony, like other pay-TV providers, is facing increased financial pressure from rights holders, which may be raising the licensing costs to live content and other lucrative forms of entertainment that keep customers subscribing to services like Vue. Earlier today, AT&T announced a $5 price increase to its DirecTV Now service, following similar price hikes from Sling and YouTube TV over the past few months.
“At PlayStation, we are always evaluating the PS Vue service to ensure we are providing a compelling value to our customers. Unfortunately, we must increase the price of our multi-channel plans to keep pace with rising business costs and enable us to continue offering a better way to watch the best in live sports, entertainment, and news,” reads the post, penned by Vue chief Dwayne Benefield.
The price increase will go into effect on July 24th for new customers. Current subscribers won’t see the change until the first billing cycle after July 31st. All four bundles — Access, Core, Elite, and Ultra — are subject to the same $5 increase. Sony says its add-ons and standalone channels will not be affected in any way.
Released in 2015, Vue is Sony’s answer to Sling and other skinny bundle packages that offer a more limited alternative to full-fledged cable TV at a reduced price. As of last year, the service counted more than 400,000 subscribers, and it’s available on pretty much every major set-top box platform, as well as on PlayStation consoles, mobile, and Mac and PC. Pricing is an influential differentiating factor between competing services, and even small price increases may have a big impact on subscriber numbers and a new customer’s willingness to choose an alternative service.