Last April, when YouTube unveiled YouTube TV–its TV streaming service, with live pay and local channels and a cloud DVR feature with unlimited storage–I said that it was promising, but a work in progress. Some of the necessary progress happened earlier this month, when the service became available on Apple TV and Roku boxes. And now the company is announcing more channels, as well as availability in additional cities that it says will bring it up to 85% of U.S. markets.
Time Warner’s Turner–until now a notable holdout–is landing on the service with Adult Swim, CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, and other channels. NBA TV and MLB Network will become part of the base package, with NBA League Pass and MLB.TV on their way for an additional cost.
The new stuff will carry a new price tag, with YouTube TV’s base cost going from $35 a month to $40. That hike doesn’t apply to current customers and won’t kick in until March 13, giving prospective cord cutters a month to lock in the lower price.
When I spoke to Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, for a story last year, he told me that “generally, it’s hard to make prices go up on the internet” and noted that during his former life as an executive at Netflix, that service’s price tumbled from $20 a month to $8. (Since Kyncl’s departure, Netflix has managed to nudge that up a bit.) It’ll be interesting to see if YouTube TV’s new proposition–a substantially more complete package for five bucks more a month–has any particular impact on its status in the live TV streaming wars.