Disney Plus is about to get even more expensive for users who subscribe to the streaming service’s ad-free plans thanks to a new price hike that’s currently in the works.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the ad-free tier of Disney Plus will go up in price from $10.99 a month to $13.99 beginning on October 12. This also includes its annual plan which will jump from $109.99 to $139.99. once the price hike goes into effect.
Disney Plus isn’t the only one of the best streaming services that will soon cost even more as Hulu’s ad-free tier is going up in price from $14.99 to $17.99 per month. To take the sting out of this price hike though, Disney is also planning to launch a new premium ad-free bundle which includes both Disney Plus and Hulu for $19.99 per month.
In addition to raising their prices, the company has revealed that it will combine content from both streaming services into a single app later this year, though the services themselves will remain separate.
To make matters worse, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in the earnings call in which these price hikes were revealed that the company will also pursue a password sharing crackdown similar to Netflix’s. As of now though, Disney is “actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family” according to Iger with the crackdown itself set to roll out in 2024.
Analysis: Is this the right time?
Cutting the cord was supposed to be the cheaper alternative to paying for cable but with this recent slew of price hikes, that no longer seems to be the case.
It’s not just Netflix that has gone up in price either as Paramount Plus, Peacock and now Disney Plus are all following suit. However, with its large backlog of content geared towards children and overall family appeal, I had hoped Disney would keep its prices lower than the competition, especially as the service hasn’t had a big hit in quite some time. Even the shows that helped drive subscribers to the service in the first place like The Mandalorian aren’t what they used to be while newcomers like The Book of Boba Fett and Secret Invasion have fallen flat with their respective fan bases.
Perhaps Disney is thinking that the premier of Loki Season 2 on October 6 will be enough to bring those who have canceled Disney Plus back to the service. Still though, coming back for a show you’ve been waiting for and then being hit with a price hike likely won’t entice many customers to hang around.
While Disney’s price hike may bode well for the company initially, without enough new content that customers actually want to watch, we could see its subscriber count drop. Alternatively though, ad-free customers could swap to its ad-supported plans which Iger said now have 3.3 million subscribers. Maybe this is the point of this new price hike since ad-supported content likely earns Disney a whole lot more in the long run.