In July, virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) YouTube TV hiked its prices. Now, Hulu’s live TV offering is following suit.
Beginning Dec. 18, Hulu + Live TV, which combines the ad-supported tier of Hulu’s subscription streaming offering with access to live television channels, will raise its base price to $65 a month—$10 more than its previous $55 monthly price tag. It’s the second price hike in exactly a years’ time; on Dec. 18, 2019, Hulu + Live TV raised its prices from $45 a month to $55 a month.
The increase will take place for both current and new subscribers, so there’s no way for viewers to get in under the wire to keep costs locked in at a lower rate. Subscribers to Hulu + Live TV who pay to watch programming on-demand without ads will also see their prices raised from $61 a month to $71 a month.
The increase brings Hulu’s price up to other comparable virtual MVPD services. Still, Hulu + Live TV does include the SVOD product that normally costs $6 with ads and $12 without ads.
YouTube TV is also priced at $65 a month, nearly double the amount it cost when it debuted in 2017. And AT&T’s virtual MVPD service AT&T TV Now is $60 a month for its lowest tier. Sports-centric Fubo TV also comes in at $60 for its lowest tier.
Other virtual MVPD services, like Philo and Sling TV, keep costs lower by offering fewer sports channels and more limited channel offerings.
The price hike at Hulu + Live TV is just the latest in a series of increases that are rippling across the virtual MVPD ecosystem. Service providers are currently grappling with expensive sports carriage rights while trying to remain appealing to existing or potential cord-cutters.
This fall, services like Hulu and YouTube tried to capitalize on the return of live sports by running promotions and marketing around their live channel offerings. In recent years, virtual MVPD services have aimed their appeal to customers by stressing they only have to pay for live channels when they need to, as opposed to being locked into long-term contracts that may come with a traditional TV package.
As of last month, Hulu + Live TV had 4.1 million customers. That’s a small fraction of the 32.5 million subscribers who pay for its SVOD product. Nonetheless, Hulu + Live TV is growing, and had 41% more subscribers this year than it did a year ago.
It’s not just virtual MVPD services that are raising their prices. In October, Netflix raised its prices in the U.S., increasing its standard plan from $13 a month to $14 a month and raising its premium tier from $16 a month to $18 a month.