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Fubo TV Is Raising Prices and Adding Channels (But Also Dumping Channels Like CNN)

Stephen Silver

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On Tuesday, YouTube TV announced that it was raising its subscription price by 30 percent, to $64.99, in conjunction with its long-awaited addition of channels from ViacomCBS, which include MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network.

Now, one of YouTube TV's rivals in the vMVPD space, Fubo TV, has also announced a price hike.

Fubo TV said in an email to subscribers Wednesday that it is raising prices by $5 a month. The change will go into effect for the August 1 billing cycle, the email said.

According to The Verge, the change moves the Fubo TV family bundle from $60 to $65 per month, which is not as drastic as the $15-a-month hike announced by YouTube TV. Existing customers on Fubo TV's standard plan will be automatically upgraded to the family plan, although they have the option of opting out.

This increase also coincides with the addition of channels, as Fubo plans to add a suite of channels from Disney-ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Jr, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, and Nat Geo - in August.

But unlike YouTube TV, Fubo TV also subtracted some channels, losing the Turner-owned networks as of the start of the month. That means subscribers will no longer receive CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, TruTV and other Turner channels.

Both Fubo TV and YouTube TV are vMVPDs, which stands for virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Others in the space include Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV.

The idea of such services is to provide some percentage of what cable does at a lower price point, and even with the price hikes, the vMVPD subscriptions remain more affordable than most cable bills.

Fubo TV launched in 2015, and was originally focused narrowly on streaming on international soccer matches, before expanding in 2017 to cover more sports, and later on television programming in general.

In April, Fubo TV announced that it had merged with virtual entertainment technology firm FaceBank — the company responsible for the Tupac Shakur hologram — and soon after that announced a deal with boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, in order to "create and manage the world-renowned retired professional boxing champion and promoter’s digital likeness, 'Virtual Mayweather.'"

Part of the deal was to stage virtual fights between Mayweather and other boxers and fighters of the past, which would be available exclusively on Fubo TV, although no announcements have been made since then.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. 

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