DirecTV Now will introduce two new plans this week called DirecTV Plus and DirecTV Max that will replace the service’s old plans.
The new plans up the cost of the base service to $50 per month from $35 and – while AT&T will allow legacy subscribers to keep their old, poorly named plans – it says that all basic channel plans will experience a $10 per month price hike.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. In the same announcement, AT&T says that any subscriber paying for the $5 per month HBO add-on will now be charged $15 per month to get their Game of Thrones fix, while Starz and Cinemax viewers will see rate increases from $5 and $8 a month respectively, to $11 per month each.
If there’s any sort of silver lining to the otherwise bleak news, it’s that DirecTV Plus, the new name for the entry-level package that includes 46 channels for $50 per month, and DirecTV Max that offers 59 channels for $70 per month, will both include HBO at no extra charge.
Is DirecTV Now in trouble?
Price hikes are usually required if the service has ambitious content development plans and requires additional funds to make that happen – as was the case with Netflix when it raised its prices at the end of last year.
AT&T probably isn’t in the same situation as DirecTV Now doesn’t produce its own original content. Instead, a price hike is more likely to keep profits up after the streaming service lost 267,000 subscribers at the end of last year.
Interestingly, when AT&T took over Time Warner the company told the Justice Department that the deal would “enable the merged company to reduce prices, offer innovative video products, and compete more effectively” against tech giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.
So much for that idea.
Regardless, the price hike likely won’t help DirecTV Now gain new customers, as similar live TV streaming services like PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV all cost less per month… albeit none of them include HBO in the package.