TV & Video Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

YouTube enters the FAST world 

YouTube is beginning a test where it will allow select users to stream free, ad-supported channels on a new hub. In YouTube’s Movies and TV storefront, these select viewers will be able to access FAST linear channels, reportedly with content ranging from A+E Networks, Lionsgate Entertainment, Cinedigm, and more. This is a push on YouTube’s part to provide viewers with a central destination for everything they want to watch. This comes after YouTube’s launch of TV shows on FAST channels in March of 2022, bringing the platform into the streaming game. YouTube also offers Primetime Channels, allowing users to subscribe to over 30 streaming services, including Showtime, AMC+, Paramount+, and more. Subscribers can also add on an NFL package to their YouTube TV subscription as of last month. YouTube is working to become a viewership hub to answer all consumer’s needs.

The NPD Take:

  • The strategy itself seems to create a position for Google amidst all the major video distribution points, allowing opportunities for increasing viewer engagement. However, it’s notable that this service, launched in March, still has no name and little consumer marketing around it.

HBO Max raises its price 

As of Thursday, January 12, HBO Max pricing has increased nearly 7%. The ad-free tier, which was previously $14.99, is now $1 more expensive (costing $15.99/month) with current subscribers being charged the higher price starting in their next billing cycle. This is the first price hike the platform has executed since its launch in May 2020. The ad-supported tier, which has cost $9.99/month since its June 2021 launch, is not increasing in price at this time. New users can now sign up for the ad-free plan at the new price monthly, or for a discounted price of $149.99 if they sign up for a year.

The NPD Take

  • Acquiring and creating content for streaming platforms is getting more expensive and as such subscription costs are rising. HBO Max is not immune to this business dynamic. However, the timing of this price increase seems odd considering the imminent roll-out of the combined Discovery+ and HBO Max offering.