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YouTube TV Adds New Cable Channels and Raises Price to $40

Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer of YouTube, introduces the company's new television subscription service at the YouTube Space LA venue in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2017. Photograph by Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg via Getty Images

When YouTube TV premiered a year ago, it had a few noticeable gaps in its offerings as a cable alternative. Today, some of those gaps in the live-television streaming subscription service are being filled with the addition of popular networks such as CNN and TNT.

YouTube announced on Wednesday that it struck a deal with Time Warner’s Turner entertainment division to get access to TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, and other cable channels for its paid TV service. YouTube TV already offered live programming from more than 50 channels, including the four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) along with cable channels such as ESPN, FX, Bravo, E!, and USA. Meanwhile, CNN now joins cable news rivals CNBC, Fox News, and MSNBC on YouTube TV.

After YouTube TV’s debut last year, Fortune noted that the service was incomplete compared to most cable offerings because of its lack of cable channels from the likes of Turner and Viacom. (YouTube TV still has not come to terms with Viacom, which owns networks such as MTV and Comedy Central.) Turner’s CEO, John Martin, also took a swipe at the fledgling subscription streaming service last year, saying it was “hard to imagine an attractive package without Turner” on YouTube TV.

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Now, YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, can offer subscribers a fuller lineup of cable channels. The service noted on Wednesday that the additional Time Warner channels should appeal to “sports lovers in particular,” as networks like TBS, TNT, and truTV offer coverage of the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament as well as regular NBA games (including this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game), MLB playoff games, and other sporting events. YouTube TV will also soon add the NBA TV and MLB Network channels to its base subscription package, while sports fans will also have the option of paying extra to add NBA League Pass or MLB.TV to their packages.

Of course, with the added channels, YouTube TV also announced plans to raise its price. Starting March 13, YouTube said, the base price for a YouTube TV subscription would increase $5 to $40 per month. Current members (or, anyone who signs up before March 13) will be grandfathered in and will keep paying $35 per month going forward. YouTube TV’s price increase brings the service to the same level of rivals like Hulu’s live-TV service, which also charges $40 per month to live-stream more than 50 channels, including Turner-owned networks. (Hulu’s live-TV service also includes access to its vast on-demand library, while YouTube TV offers access to its YouTube Red original programming.)

One of the other drawbacks to YouTube TV when it first went live in April 2017 was the fact that it was only available in certain metropolitan markets. Even now, not everyone in the U.S. can sign up for YouTube TV even if they want to. But the service also said on Wednesday that it is expanding its coverage area to reach all of the biggest 100 U.S. markets (covering 85% of U.S. households overall), with the addition of new markets such as Honolulu; El Paso, Tex.; Burlington, Vt.; Richmond, Va.; and Syracuse, N.Y.

In less than a year, YouTube TV has reportedly signed on a little more than 300,000 subscribers, compared with roughly 450,000 for Hulu’s rival live service. Both services trail older rivals like DirecTV Now (which claims to have over 1 million subscribers) and Dish Network’s Sling TV (roughly 2 million).

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