If You Use These Popular TV Streaming Services, Prepare to Pay More Starting Dec. 8
The cost of subscriptions for these viewing options is about to go up.
The way we watch TV has changed a lot over the past decade. Many households have replaced their single cable box with streaming services that allow for on-demand viewing of everything from classic movies to live news and sports. But as competition in the arena has increased, what was once a budgetary boon is becoming increasingly costly as customers add more subscriptions to access the content they want. Now, two popular streaming services have announced they'll increase their prices in the coming months. Read on to see which subscriptions will soon cost you more.
Many streaming services are entering a new development phase.
Streaming services are a convenient way to watch your favorite movies and shows without the burden of a broadcast schedule or borrowing a DVD—and they're on their way to becoming the top viewing option for customers: Data from a 2020 report found that major cable and satellite TV operators had lost 25 million subscribers since 2012 and were expected to lose another 25 million households by 2025, Axios reported.
But what started as a narrow field of only a few options has blossomed into an entire ecosystem of streaming services, as more players establish their own platforms. Longtime players such as Netflix are seeing their once astronomical growth stall and reverse: The popular service announced in April that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year, marking the first time it had seen a backslide in numbers in a decade, CNN reported.
Weeks later, the company's executives signaled a significant change in a company memo sent to employees, announcing that they planned to bring commercials to the streaming service with the addition of an ad-supported subscription tier, The New York Times first reported. The internal communication also said the company would begin to crack down on password sharing among its users when it rolls out the new ad-supported tier, ending a long-running unspoken policy of allowing shared accounts among family members and groups of friends.
But Netflix isn't the only service making changes to its subscription policies and pricing.
Subscribers will soon see the cost of two popular streaming services increase.
On Aug. 10, Disney announced it would increase the cost of its Disney+ streaming service for subscribers and add an ad-supported tier. As of Dec. 8, customers paying the current $7.99 per month for ad-free shows and movies will have to upgrade to a new premium service that costs $10.99 a month to watch without commercials, representing a 37.5 percent price increase, the Associated Press reports. Customers who opt to stick with the original price will see ads during programming when the changes take effect.
At the same time, Hulu—which is majority-owned by Disney—will also get more expensive. Subscribers who now pay for the service's ad-supported tier will see a price increase of $1, bringing their monthly bill to $7.99, CNN reports. Hulu with no ads will also increase by $2, to $14.99 a month.
Not all streaming options from the company will see a price bump.
Not all customers who pay for Disney+ and Hulu will be hit with a higher bill in December. Anyone who subscribes to the Disney Bundle, which includes the two streaming services at an ad-free tier, along with ESPN+, will see their monthly price of $19.99 stay the same.
Those willing to watch commercials may still be able to save some money by combining multiple services: The company said it would also be adding two new bundle plans to its offerings, giving customers the choice of Dinsey+ and Hulu with ads for $9.99 per month, or access to all three channels with ads for a monthly charge of $12.99.
Executives with the company said the new offerings would help customers find what they wanted in a subscription. "We expect the ad tier to be popular, and we expect some people to want to stay with ad-free," Christine McCarthy, Chief Financial Officer for Disney, said on a conference call with analysts, per the AP.
The streaming service also announced that it had passed a major industry milestone.
The Disney+ and Hulu price changes weren't the only big news to come out of the company's announcement. Disney also reported that it added 14.4 million new Disney+ subscribers in the last quarter, pushing it to a combined total of 221.1 million subscribers with Hulu and ESPN+, per The Guardian. This puts it ahead of Netflix and its 220.7 million subscribers and makes Disney the largest streaming service provider worldwide.
The subscriber boost rounded out the upbeat news the company shared. "We had an excellent quarter, with our world-class creative and business teams powering outstanding performance at our domestic theme parks, big increases in live-sports viewership, and significant subscriber growth at our streaming services," Bob Chapek, Disney CEO, wrote in a letter to the company's investors.