PlayStation Vue Raises Prices $5 a Month for All Multi-Channel Plans
Company cites rising costs as the reason for the increase.
Sony announced Monday that it is raising prices for all of its multi-channel PlayStation Vue plans by $5 a month. PlayStation Vue is Sony’s over-the-top streaming TV subscription service. The price increase is effective immediately for new customers and will go into effect July 31 for current subscribers. In a blog post announcing the change, the company cited rising costs as the reason for the rate increase. PlayStation Vue’s last price increase was last summer, also a $5-per-month increase.
To soften the blow, Sony told subscribers that it continues to work to improve the service.
“We will continue to focus on making PS Vue the premier destination for live TV streaming, with top networks including HBO, FX, HGTV, ESPN, and NFL Network, in addition to over 650 local broadcast stations. The recent addition of beIN Sports, and soon to be launched NHL Network and ACC Network, will ensure PS Vue has the most robust assortment of national sports channels. While PS Vue already offers unique features such as multi-view on PS4 and Apple TV, the most simultaneous streams at home, and conflict-free DVR (all at no additional cost), we will continue developing new integrations and functionality to enhance your TV viewing experience,” said Sony.
PlayStation Vue offers four streaming subscription plans with monthly pricing and no annual commitment:
- Access: $49.99 per month, after a free five-day trial, for popular live TV channels
- Core: $54.99 per month, after a free five-day trial, for popular live TV channels and sports
- Elite: $64.99 per month, after a free five-day trial, for popular live TV channels, sports and movies
- Ultra: $84.99 per month for the elite package plus premium channels
Subscribers can also purchase add-ons to their packages, including HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and combination premium packages.
With so many similar OTT subscription services on the market, why PlayStation Vue? They list their competitive advantages as these:
- Record and watch shows for up to 28 days after their update using the cloud DVR
- Stream on up to five devices simultaneously – service is available on devices in addition to through a PlayStation console (e.g., Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, etc.)
- Watch three live programs at the same time
- Mark your favorite channels so they are easy to find
- Get access to TV Everywhere apps like HBO Now and Watch ESPN
For comparison’s sake, here are some similar services and their pricing*:
Streaming Subscription Service
Monthly Base Price
$15.00 (promotional pricing, does not include local channels)
Hulu + Live TV (Hulu streaming + live channels)
$44.99 + add-ons
*It is important to note that these are not apples to oranges comparisons. Each service has different channels, add-ons and premium options available. There are also variations based on location, and equipment and speeds can vary as well.
Nominal, incremental price increases are reasonable and to be expected, regardless of the streaming subscription service. However, each of these streaming services also requires a good internet connection which can be expensive. The cheapest Comcast package (in the Seattle area) is $29.99 per month for 60 mpbs downloads with up to five devices at a time. This does not include any TV channels or telephone service– just internet – so a PlayStation Vue subscription actually starts at $49.99 + $29.99 for internet at a minimum, and it goes up exponentially from there, depending on the speed and carrier.
For cord cutters and cord nevers, services like PlayStation Vue can still be a good value. It really boils down to a couple of factors: (a) price, (b) accessibility to and exclusivity of content (where can you watch what you want), (c) user experience (etc., speeds, ease of use, etc.), and (d) reliability and transparency. Can you trust that the service you select won’t change pricing until you are eventually paying just as much for streaming services as you would for cable? With so many players in the OTT marketplace now, it is time for some differentiation to occur.