The Walt Disney Company recently made waves by announcing price hikes across their incredibly popular streaming services. Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ are all seeing increases in monthly and annual subscription costs.
I know these higher prices may prompt you to consider canceling or downgrading your Disney streaming plans. So in this article, I‘ll break down exactly what‘s changing, what‘s behind Disney‘s decision, how it impacts consumers like you, and most importantly – tips for saving money so you can keep enjoying Disney+ originals and other great entertainment.
Disney Streaming Price Increase Details
Let‘s first look at how much monthly and yearly prices are changing across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ in the United States:
- With ads: Increasing from $7.99 to $10.99 per month
- Ad-free: Increasing from $10.99 to $14.99 per month
- Annual with ads: Increasing from $79.99 to $109.99 per year
- Annual ad-free: Increasing from $109.99 to $149.99 per year
- With ads: Increasing from $6.99 to $7.99 per month
- Ad-free: Increasing from $12.99 to $14.99 per month
- Monthly: Increasing from $6.99 to $9.99 per month
- Annual: Increasing from $69.99 to $99.99 per year
Disney Bundle (Includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+)
- With ads: Increasing from $13.99 to $14.99 per month
- Ad-free: Increasing from $19.99 to $19.99 per month
These new prices for both monthly and annual subscriptions will take effect starting in early December 2022 for new subscribers. Existing subscribers will see the price hikes reflected in their first billing cycle on or after December 8, 2022.
Why Is Disney Raising Prices?
Disney has provided some context around what‘s driving their decision to raise prices across the board for their streaming services. A few of the key factors:
Rising content production costs – Creating high-quality original movies and shows exclusively for streaming services like Disney+ is extremely expensive with costs in the hundreds of millions for flagship originals. For example, Disney spent a whopping $465 million to produce its Star Wars show The Mandalorian.
Increased competition – Streaming services are competing fiercely for subscribers. As platforms like Netflix raise prices, Disney aims to remain price competitive in the market.
Losses in other business units – Disney‘s profits in areas like movies and theme parks took a major hit during the pandemic. Price hikes for streaming help make up for losses in other divisions.
Slowing subscriber growth – Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ saw massive growth early on but additions have slowed in 2022 as the market matures. Disney hopes higher prices won‘t lead to too much subscriber churn.
Here‘s a look at how subscriber growth for Disney+ in the US has slowed in recent quarters, which is likely a factor in their decision:
How Much Is Disney+ Compared to Netflix and Other Rivals?
Even after the price increases, Disney+ still compares very favorably to competitors when you look at monthly subscription costs:
- Disney+ with ads: $10.99 per month
- Netflix Basic with ads: $6.99 per month
- HBO Max with ads: $9.99 per month
- Paramount+ Premium with ads: $9.99 per month
When it comes to ad-free plans and 4K streaming, Disney+ remains one of the most affordable options:
- Disney+ ad-free: $14.99 per month
- Netflix Premium ad-free: $19.99 per month
- HBO Max ad-free: $14.99 per month
- Paramount+ Premium ad-free: $14.99 per month
However, Disney+ offers less content overall compared to Netflix and HBO Max, which is something to consider.
How Can You Save Money on Disney Streaming?
If you want to keep enjoying Disney+ originals like Andor or Hulu shows like The Handmaid‘s Tale once the price increases kick in, here are 5 tips to minimize the impact on your wallet:
Downgrade to the ad-supported Disney+ plan to save $4/month. The ads are fairly unobtrusive.
Get the Disney Bundle which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. It‘s one of the best deals in streaming.
Set streaming quality lower to SD instead of 4K if you don‘t need the extra resolution. This will use less data too!
Share your subscription with a friend or family member and split the costs. Disney allows profile sharing.
Rotate between services each month rather than paying for multiple ones year-round.
The streaming landscape is only getting more competitive and fragmented. But with the right strategies, you can keep enjoying top-tier entertainment from providers like Disney without overspending. I hope these tips are helpful as you consider how to get the most value from your streaming subscriptions!
Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m happy to offer advice and perspectives so you can make the best streaming choices for your budget and entertainment needs.