Cord-cutters who thought they were getting a price break from “virtual” internet pay-TV services may be in for some sticker shock.
FuboTV, as of Thursday (March 28), is increasing the subscription price of its base internet TV package for all subscribers by 22%, to $54.99 per month — up $10 from the previous $44.99 monthly for the package of more than 90 channels. In addition, Fubo Extra (with 110-plus channels) is rising by $10, from $49.99 to $59.99 per month (up 20%).
According to FuboTV, the price hikes mark the first time in over a year it has raised fees. It has added multiple channels to the service in the last 12 months, including AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, and TNT. In addition, FuboTV recently inked a distribution pact with Viacom, under which it will soon add BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and other networks to its packages.
FuboTV’s price hikes come after AT&T raised the prices for all existing DirecTV Now subscribers by $10 per month (its second increase in less than a year), while discontinuing the previous plans and replacing them with two new bundles that include HBO but omit networks from A+E, AMC, Discovery and Viacom.
Meanwhile, Hulu in February started charging $5 more for its live TV service, which rose from $39.99 to $44.99 per month (a 12.5% increase). Google raised the price of YouTube TV last year, from $35 to $40 per month. Other virtual pay-TV players include Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Philo.
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In a statement, a FuboTV rep said, “We are committed to continuing to deliver the best of live TV to our customers, as well as an exceptional user experience with 4K streams and premium features.”
As a sign-up incentive, new FuboTV customers as of March 28 will receive a $10 discount on the first month for the base $55 tier while new Fubo Extra subs will get a $5 one-month discount.
As of the end of September 2018, FuboTV said it had nearly 250,000 paid subscribers since launching in 2015 as a sports-centric over-the-top TV service. The company has raised $150 million from investors including AMC Networks, 21st Century Fox and Sky (now owned by Comcast).
FuboTV positions its OTT service as a full-featured cable or satellite TV replacement. It has recently rolled out new features including a beta version of 4K streams, with 4K content coming to the service in the next few weeks from MLB, English Premier League and El Clasico. Fubo also offers “dynamic discovery,” an interface that lets subscribers browse live content via an in-progress preview directly on the home screen.
Other enhancements on FuboTV’s road map: It plans to launch on more platforms starting this spring, including smart TVs; improve personalization and content recommendations; and upgrade cloud library features to let users better manage DVR and video-on-demand content.