AT&T’s streaming service is again raising prices. AT&T’s TV Now, the service previously known as DirecTV Now, is bumping up its prices yet again — by as much as 30%, Bloomberg reported and AT&T confirmed. Subscribers who were on the $50 Plus tier will now have to pay $65, while those on the $70 Max tier will pay $80 per month.
The prices will go into effect for both new and existing customers — meaning, no one is getting grandfathered into their current pricing this time around.
The company had previously revamped its plans earlier this year, where it introduced the new Plus and Max tiers, and had raised rates. However, at that time, existing subscribers were able to stay on their current plans.
The company’s goal with the continual price hikes is to make its service more profitable even as its subscribers continue to defect. The streaming service ended 2018 with fewer customers (1.6 million) than it had in Q2 2018 (1.8 million). It has now dropped even further to 1.3 million, as of Q2 2019 — a net loss of 168,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, AT&T’s pay TV subscribers are also bailing at rapid rates. In Q2 2019, AT&T reported a net loss of 778,000 premium TV subscribers, for example.
AT&T had originally lured in customers for its over-the-top streaming service with promotional discounts that weren’t sustainable. And, according to a new lawsuit, it allegedly faked some of its user growth, as well.
But for customers who originally signed up in 2016 for $35 per month, being slowly bumped up to now $65+ feels like a bait-and-switch. On Reddit, many are complaining about this second price hike of the year. Several are indicating they’ll switch to YouTube TV as a result. However, the one thing that’s helping to stem the tide of cancellations is the fact that AT&T TV Now’s new plans bundle in HBO. That makes AT&T’s service still more of a deal than competitive streamers who are cheaper, but don’t include HBO — elsewhere, the HBO add-on is typically in the range of $15/month.
AT&T isn’t the only live TV streaming to have raised pricing after launch. Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue have all done so at various points in order to cover rising programming costs. As a result, cord cutters who believed they could save money over cable or satellite TV by switching to over-the-top streams are quickly finding out there’s not as much savings as they previously thought.
AT&T confirmed the price changes, adding that the changes go into effect on November 19th and impact customers with the legacy plans (who are also bumped up $10 per month), and the newer Plus and Max plans. Customers with Entertainment to Optimo Mas packages are not currently impacted.
“We’re adjusting our pricing to reflect the cost to deliver content to our customers. Customers can contact us at any time to review their plans or make account changes,” a spokesperson said.