Disney Plus and Hulu get steep Price Hikes

Disney has announced that it’s increasing the price of Disney Plus to $10.99 / month, up from its current cost of $7.99 / month, starting December 8th in the US.

The activity comes as the company is looking to restructure its pricing alternatives, which will soon have a $7.99 / month ad-supported tier.

Disney’s also boosting the price of its Hulu subscription. The ad-free tier will hop from $12.99 / month to $14.99, while the ad-supported rendition will cost $7.99 / month, increased from $6.99. The new pricing moves into effect on October 10th. In addition, a price hike for unbundled ESPN Plus streaming was announced in July, bringing the monthly cost from $6.99 to $9.99 / month.

The price boosts affect bundled plans as well. For example, users with an ad-free Disney Plus subscription and an ad-supported Hulu and ESPN Plus program will increase from $13.99 to $14.99 / month. Disney’s also submitting a bundle containing Disney Plus and Hulu ads for $9.99 / month. Meanwhile, Hulu, Disney Plus, and ad-supported ESPN Plus will cost $19.99 / month.

Disney contains also adjusted its pricing for its Hulu live TV bundles. Hulu’s live TV loads with ad-supported Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus plans will cost $69.99 / month. The live TV bundle with ad-free Disney Plus and ad-supported Hulu and ESPN Plus programs will cost $74.99. To get a live TV plan without ads on Disney Plus or Hulu and ad-supported ESPN Plus, you’ll have to spend $82.99 / month.

Last quarter, Disney reported adding 8 million new subscribers to Disney Plus around the same time Netflix announced a decrease in subscribers for the first time in a decade. Disney CEO Bob Chapek now says it has added 14.4 million customers to Disney Plus in the third quarter to reach 152 million and 221 million across all its services.

Its direct-to-consumer division, which contains the streaming units, lost more money than in previous years. According to Disney, rising production and programming costs for Disney Plus and more elevated sports programming costs at ESPN Plus contributed to the losses.

Direct-to-Consumer revenues for the quarter increased 19% to $5.1 billion, and operating loss raised $0.8 billion to $1.1 billion. The boost in operating loss was due to a higher loss at Disney+, descending operating income at Hulu, and, to a lesser extent, a higher loss at ESPN+.

During an earnings call, the company declined its subscriber forecast for 2024. It now expects Disney Plus to have anywhere from 215 million to 245 million subscribers, instead of its earlier prediction of 230 million to 260 million.

“We remain confident that Disney Plus will achieve profitability in fiscal 2024,” Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said during the call.

When asked about sports betting — something Chapek has hinted at in the past — Chapek said the company’s “been in conversations with several different platforms” to add the functionality and that it hopes “to have something to announce in the future in terms of a partnership.”