YouTube TV’s Price Hike: Customers Speak Out!


Q. So tell me, Mr. Answer Man, why on earth did YouTube TV raised their price. I only subscribed because it was lower than the cable guy. What are they thinking??!! — Carmen, Marina Del Rey.

Carmen, I feel your pain. But the reason that YouTube TV yesterday raised its monthly subscription price from $50 to $65 is obvious. Like the ‘cable guys,’ YouTube TV must pay programmers for the right to carry their channels. And those programmers are constantly raising their carriage fees, which is why the cable and satellite guys, and now YouTube TV, must raise their subscription prices as well.

I won’t say the programmers are at fault; they need to charge higher fees to offset the cost of producing more, and better, shows in an increasingly competitive environment. But it is what it is. Pay TV services, whether it’s cable or streaming, have to pay to carry channels and the fees have become astronomical.

Of course, for customers like yourself, this still might not make sense. YouTube TV, and other live streaming services, have generated millions of subscribers in the last few years thanks in part to significantly lower prices. But that couldn’t be sustained. In fact, FuboTV this morning just raised its monthly price by $5 as well. So it’s not just YouTube TV.

However, the  outpouring of opposition to YouTube TV’s price hike may be unprecedented. Social media sites are overflowing today with angry and sometimes obscene comments about the increase with many sharply criticizing YouTube TV’s decision to add 14 Viacom/CBS channels.

The live streamer’s decision to raise prices during a pandemic seems to have especially hit a nerve.

For example:

And so it goes. You can find hundreds more like that today on Twitter and Facebook, and other social media sites.

It remains to be seen how much the price increase will hurt YouTube TV’s subscription effort. If other streaming rivals also raise prices (as Fubo just did), perhaps the impact will be slight.

But it could also be the trigger to send some subscribers either back to the ‘cable guy’ or a slim diet of Netflix and another subscription VOD streamer, such as Disney Plus or Amazon Prime.

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— Phillip Swann

8 comments on “YouTube TV’s Price Hike: Customers Speak Out!”

  1. I dont think in any of my tv watching in the last 50 years have i seen any tv provider ever raise their prices $15.00 at one time!!!!!! BIG MISTAKE you tube, most every cable or even directv have ever raised their prices that high at one time,They should have gone lower upgrade price like $3.00 to $5.00 dollars a month extra, until they got to the $65.00 price point.

  2. I guess it’s the pressure of the times we are living in, but I cancelled Youtube TV within 5 minutes of receiving their email. I was so angry at the amount of the increase that I deleted their app from my TV and my phone, although I had 7 days left to watch. It totally feels like they kicked us when we were down. Americans are really on the edge right now. And so I went back to Hulu which I’m going to pay $55 per month for. I like Hulu’s interface better anyway. And if Hulu messes with me again I’ll go back to cable.

    Very poor decision by Youtube. People are really hurting and it looks like they are simply indifferent to our suffering. Whether that is, in reality, true or not doesn’t matter—it was a horrible look.

    Other companies should take note: this is NOT the time to mess with their customers. The blowback will be brutal.

  3. The purpose of streaming was to be able to select the channels you watch. A bundle like this is no different than cable. I have an over the air Amazon recorder and I am mad enough to set it up now. Youtube also seems to have deleted all my Tucker Carlson recordings and my recording setting for the show. Cannot prove it but what happened? I have all my other shows. (No Tucker comments; I also watch CNN). Sure seems like censorship. By golly what about the millions who are locked in with COVID fear, no paycheck and a huge unwanted increase. Let me delete 50% of your channels and tell me what it cost. Goodbye Youtube. Bad decisions Google. You seem to support socialist with a wink because this was opportunistic capitalism. Modern day colonialism. The world is ripe for politically competitive Internet services and shopping.

  4. As we all know Youtube TV is owned by Google. Surely they could have absorbed the extra expense easily for an extended period of time. Bums.

    I wish there was a service that offered only locals, all news channels, and sports channels a la carte. I’d only be interested in MLB Network, for example. Then I could get the rest of my “entertainment” from a cheap streaming service. As it is, there’s so much crap on tv now that we’ve been binge watching Shark Tank for the past month. Rant over.

    1. Why not just get MLB TV then? As long as you don’t depend on it to watch the local team you can eat sleep and breath baseball, for what 60 games and the playoffs. It will probably even be discounted.

  5. I too am a You Tube TV subscriber, and I am also very upset, but my anger isn’t directed so much toward them as the networks. I read a few very good articles yesterday about pricing in general. When streaming first started a few years ago, streaming services such as YTTV, and Hulu (not owned by Disney at the time) were able to sign deals that were much better than they are now. Viacom was still separate from CBS, and they were asking a lot even then for their channels. But YTTV didn’t sign them then because of that. Now, as you know, they are owned by CBS. From what I understand, CBS now makes it mandatory to carry the Viacom stations in order to keep the main CBS channels. And those stations have to be on the basic tier. Thus the big hike by YTTV. And CBS isn’t the only one. These broadcasters have consolidated a lot over the last few years and are all doing the same. You mentioned fubo also increased their pricing to basically the same price, but what wasn’t mentioned is even though the are bringing on the ABC family of networks, they also dropped the Time Warner networks. So it seems the bully here is not YTTV or fubo, but the networks. It would be interesting if in some fantasy world we were able to pick what we want. I know I wouldn’t pick CBS. I watch only 2 shows on that network, and one is Cobert. The sad truth is this will never end until either people disconnect entirely from pay tv or there’s some sort of regulatory assistance by the government. And we know the second choice will never happen.

  6. I don’t have a problem paying for good programming. But the Viacom channels suck. They are nothing more than reality garbage. I’ve lived my life fine without them when I subscribed to YTTV a year ago, and I’ll live my life fine without them now that I’ve cancelled my YTTV subscription. I did not need or want that programming and I was not gonna pay $15 for it.

  7. This is a huge mistake for YouTube TV. They should create a tiered subscription like the cable companies and charge people for this new content. I myself will never use those new channels and don’t see why I should bear the cost.

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