Q. It seems like all the streamers are raising their prices. Who do you think will raise prices next? I have Sling TV which is just $30. Do you think they will? I hope not. — Natalie, Reno, Nevada.
Natalie, streaming once was considered the inexpensive alternative to cable and satellite. But in recent weeks, YouTube TV, FuboTV, Netflix and Hulu’s live service have all raised prices, acknowledging that they need to offset escalating programming costs just like cable and satellite.
The price hikes have angered subscribers, but the streaming services have no choice. It’s either raise prices or go out of business. The programmers aren’t going to lower their fee demands.
So which streaming service is most likely to raise prices next?
AT&T TV Now would seem like a logical candidate. The live streamer’s base rate (Plus) is $55 a month, which is now $10 less per month than YouTube TV, Hulu Live and Fubo TV.
AT&T TV Now also lowered the Plus package from $65 a month to $55 a month last April when subscriptions declined after raising it to $65 a year ago. So the company probably would prefer the higher price now although it could again hurt subscription efforts.
But AT&T TV Now’s Plus plan only includes around 45 channels. $65 a month for 45 channels is not a value nor an inexpensive alternative.
Sling TV would seem likely to raise prices, too, considering its base plan is just $30 a month. But the live streamer has made its low price point central to its marketing strategy so raising prices now could be lethal.
Philo, a 60-channel streaming service with no sports, charges just $20 a month, which makes it a possible candidate, too. But T-Mobile just launched a 34-channel streaming service for just $10 a month, albeit only for T-Mobile customers. It would be hard now for Philo to raise prices and compete effectively with T-Mobile.
I could see Hulu raising its Video on Demand plans by a $1 month. The base plan with ads is just $5.99 a month. So it wouldn’t be surprising for Disney, which owns Hulu, to bump it by a dollar. Disney+ starts at $6.99 a month.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor the latest price changes, and report back here when new developments occur.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann