Sony’s PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service is joining its rivals with the roll out of another price increase. The company announced today it will be upping the price for all its plans by $5 per month each. The change is live as of today for new subscribers, and will kick in for current customers with the beginning of the first billing cycle on or after July 31.
The company says the decision was made due to the rising costs of content — the same reason it raised prices by $5 just around a year ago. That made Vue’s cheapest plan $45/month; now its cheapest plan is $50/month.
Its most expensive “Ultra” plan is a whopping $85/month.
However, the company also said today it’s soon adding NHL Network and ACC Network to its plans. These additions, along with its optional Sports Pack for $10/month, makes Vue a compelling choice for sports viewers, as they gain access to NFL Network, NBC Sports, Fox Sports Networks, Stadium, beIN and regional networks, among others.
The company, we should note, is not alone in citing rising content costs as the reason for its price hike. Its competitors have all done the same at some point in recent months.
For example, YouTube TV raised its prices in April — and that one was a pretty substantial $10 to $15 per month increase, depending on when you signed up. (And this time, it didn’t grandfather in existing customers into old pricing like the last increase did.) Dish-owned Sling TV also raised prices last year, as did AT&T’s DirecTV Now — the latter which raised them again in 2019.
Hulu in early 2019 also raised its prices for Live TV, while dropping the price for its on-demand service.
For Vue, price increases have become something of an annual occurrence. In addition to last year’s $5/month increase, the service rolled out a $10/month increase in 2017, as well.
This latest price increase follows Vue’s recent addition of beIN Sports last week and a hefty set of June renegotiations with NBCU, Turner, AMC and Discovery/Scripps.
The company at the time warned that changes could be in store, saying:
Most of the programming/content you watch on PlayStation Vue is licensed from programmers for the right to air their networks/channels. Once these agreements near expiration, we enter into renewal discussions where we work hard to try and obtain the best value for our customers. Though infrequent, sometimes certain licenses will not be renewed, in which case PlayStation Vue would no longer carry the affected channels or networks. This section will be updated periodically to list channels and networks coming up for renewal. Please note that the dates listed below are subject to change.
With the ongoing price increases, these live TV streaming services are no longer as much of a bargain over traditional cable or satellite subscriptions — they’re merely an alternative, albeit ones with better cross-platform support in some cases, or tools to better customize your lineup.
And while they don’t directly compete with on-demand services, they do in the sense that consumers only have so much they’re willing to spend on their TV entertainment. On that front, these services will be looking for customers who will soon have a lot more choice. On the horizon are new services like Disney+, Apple TV+, NBCU’s streaming service and something from WarnerMedia (whose plans keep changing). That may lead to services that offer a bundled discount — like Hulu with Live TV combined with Disney+ — to fare better.