One day after YouTube TV announced a $15 price hike that had customers crying out “enough already,” Dish’s Sling TV service is promising that it won’t raise prices on existing customers until at least August 2021. The company seems keen on using the frustration toward YouTube to help boost its own subscriptions; this offer is extended to anyone who signs up for Sling by August 1st and maintains service. (That, of course, leaves open the possibility that new customers who come on board after August 1st will start off with higher pricing...)
Right now, Sling’s two channel tiers, Sling Blue and Sling Orange, each cost $30. You can get them individually if only one covers the channels you want, or get both for $45 monthly for maximum programming options.
Sling also takes a shot at YouTube TV’s timing, saying in its blog post that “we believe now is not the time to make our customers choose between staying informed and entertained, and putting dinner on the table.” Ouch. The company says it hopes the yearlong guarantee “will bring a sense of much needed stability in a time that feels uncertain to us all.”
YouTube TV said its sharp price increase is a reflection of a growing slate of channels, including recent additions from ViacomCBS like Comedy Central, BET, and MTV that had been absent from the service until now. The company acknowledged that it expects some subscribers will cancel now that they’ll have to pay more for channels they might have no interest in. Alas, there’s no way for existing customers to keep paying the same price for the previous channel package. Everyone moves to the same plan, and YouTube TV has refrained from offering tiered channel bundles like some other services.
There was one small nugget of good news in YouTube’s announcement: the company said it’s “working to build new flexible models for YouTube TV users,” but it didn’t have any details to share on what that might look like. Channel owners have steadfastly refused to let the idea of a la carte TV channel subscriptions make any real headway. There’s no getting the channels you want without a serving of bland extras tossed into the mix.
And the hits just keep coming. FuboTV is now more expensive, and you’ve got to jump through some customer service hoops if you want to pay the lowest price. And now, AT&T TV has raised the introductory, first-12-months pricing for its various channel packages. As noted by NextTV, the base “entertainment” package is being raised by $10; it’s now $60. The “choice” middle option plan is now $65. The “xtra” and “ultimate” packages are each going up by $10, so they’ll now cost $75 and $80, respectively.
The significantly higher prices that AT&T TV customers will pay after the promo period haven’t changed, however. Also, keep in mind that this service differs from others in that you’re subject to a contract and early termination fees. AT&T TV nets you some of the benefits of the other streaming TV services, but it still carries some cable baggage.
Disney’s ESPN Plus service will undergo a $1 price bump this summer, as my colleague Julia Alexander reported yesterday. So far, the company hasn’t made any immediate adjustments to the pricing of Hulu with Live TV.
But I doubt it will be long.