DIRECTV NOW is about to undergo a price increase that will result in the most affordable plan coming in at $50 per month.
The information has yet to be formally announced by DIRECTV NOW or AT&T although the information was reportedly publicly available for a short time on the brand's website. Instead, the details come from a new report which looks to confirm the introduction of two new plans – "Plus" and "Max."
According to the information, these are not just new plans, but will actually replace all of the existing plans going forward. If correct, this will see the current plan lineup decreasing from four (excluding foreign language options), down to two.
With a decrease in plan options, this also means the baseline entry-level package from DIRECTV NOW will increase to $50 per month.
Currently, DIRECTV NOW offers a "Live a little" package which costs $40 per month.
In spite of what is effectively a price increase, new customers will also be getting less while paying more. As the new Plus plan is said to only come with 40 channels compared to the 65 that's available via the Live a little option.
Even those opting for the Max option will still technically be getting less than the Live a little option as the Max plan will reportedly come with 50 channels. That's in spite of the Max plan costing $70 per month.
One of the primary ways in which DIRECTV NOW seems to be planning on justifying the higher-cost-for-less-channels approach is through a quality aspect. For example, both Plus and Max options are expected to come with HBO included.
HBO on its own typically costs $14.99 per month. However, AT&T does offer access to HBO as a DIRECTV NOW add-on for just $5 per month.
The new plan and price structure is expected to take effect from March 12 for new customers.
At present, the situation for existing DIRECTV NOW customers is a little less clear. If the information is correct, then it would seem existing customers will be able to stay on their current plan and will not be forced over to the new Plus or Max plans. Although, those customers will still be subject to a $10 per month price increase.
As an example, those on the Live a little option who are currently paying $40 per month will be expected to pay $50 per month once the price increase kicks in. Essentially, they will be paying the same price as new customers on the Plus plan, and while they will retain access to a wider variety of channels, they won't have the included access to HBO.
Existing customers can expect to see their plan price increase go live by April 12, 2019.
The news AT&T is increasing the cost of DIRECTV NOW, while also decreasing the choice of channels, is not completely new news as the company confirmed as much back in December of last year with the clear suggestion DIRECTV NOW would undergo a major price and channel change in 2019.
Over the past couple of years there's been immense competition in the streaming sector on price. This has led to the understanding that most of the streaming options run at a deficit as a means to attract early subscribers. Therefore it has been expected that the average entry price would rise some degree.
Evidence of this was already seen last year when virtually all of the main players upped their baseline price by roughly $5 per month. That seemingly industry-wide price increase also highlighted the trend that once one increases the baseline price, others seem to follow suit.
AT&T and its DIRECTV NOW service was one of those that did raise its price and so this will be the second major price increase within a year.