YouTube TV Set to Expand Channel Options While Raising Monthly Pricing
YouTube TV has announced an expansion of their available channel lineup with the addition of Turner, NBA TV, and MLB Network. Several other Turner-owned networks will also be added to the base package deal, including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, HLN, truTV, and Turner classic movies.
Though the pricing plan for YouTube TV member signups will go from $35 to $40, subscribers currently paying the current rate will continue to pay the same prices. However, anyone who signs up before March 15, 2018, will be able to pay the $35/month price.
As of today, YouTube TV has access to over 50 networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CW, ESPN, AMC, FX, FXX, Disney Channel, E!, USA, BRAVO, Syfy, MSNBC, Telemundo, Sprout, Freeform, NatGeo, and other regional sports networks. Heather Moonsick, Director of Content Partnerships at YouTube TV explained the pricing change as an adjustment to the ‘skinny’ bundle that was initially offered during YouTube TV’s initial release. “We went out with a ‘skinnier’ bundle than others because we were very sensitive to price – particularly since our goal is to get users who have never subscribed to cable – or who have cut the cord – back to subscribing to live TV,” Moonsick stated.
The current demographic for YouTube TV is very young. The majority of users is said to be 35 and under, making the user count to 300,000 subscribers, compared to Hulu Live’s 450,000 subscribers. Moonsick states that millennials are the main watchers, as expected, so the building of YouTube TV’s services comes from the desire to market to video streamers and the next generation who love live TV, but not the way it’s delivered. Some of the networks being incorporated are already a draw for many young viewers. CNN has an audience base almost seven years younger than Fox News, and five years younger than MSNBC. Turner’s TNT and TBS have both stated they also reach a younger audience overall.
The increase in sports programming access is another huge addition. Viewers will be able to watch NBA Games, NBA All-Star weekend, NBA Playoff games, MLB Postseason games, the PGA Championship, and UEFA soccer. The 24-hour NBA TV and MLB networks will also eventually join the package, while the NBA League Pass will be available for watching out-of-market live games in a few months.
Customization of YouTube TV through add-on subscriptions has always been offered. Showtime, Fox Soccer Plus, Shudder, and Sundance Now are available for additional monthly charges. This a la carte programming setup is expected to be more heavily pursued by YouTube TV as they continue building their services. This will not only increase revenue per user but also allow the ability to further personalize YouTube TV’s recommendations, Moonsick noted. The way add-ons are sold may change though, as the company is exploring options like bundling channels into low-cost add-ons, like Sling TV.
YouTube TV is available to over 85 percent of the country but holds plenty of competition to platforms like Hulu Live TV and Sling TV. YouTube says the way they will compete will come through their lineup and feature set while improving the quality and stability of YouTube TV’s signals.