Remember when streaming platforms marketed themselves better than cable because they had no ads? Disney+ is about to change that
Streaming services are at an all-time low, with sales of each plummeting despite frequent releases and announcements of new projects picked up by each company. Disney stock is down nearly 25% in 2022, marking one of the worst Dow shifts of the year. As a result, more and more streaming platforms are including an ad-supported tier to make up for the churn rate.
Disney+ has established an interesting niche by appealing to the kid’s age and the important 18-35 demographic. They have the best Marvel superhero films and the entire Star Wars saga available, on top of many musicals, shorts and older Disney films that cater to families. They also constantly develop new spin-offs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
These price rises are first coming into place in the US from December 2022, but UK users have been warned that similar increases will be introduced to UK viewers in early 2023.
From 8th December 2022 in the US, Disney will have the following rundown for its subscribers:
- Basic subscription with ads – $7.99
- Basic subscription without ads (Premium) – $10.99 / $109.99 Annual
Its other bundle options will include these plans:
- To add Hulu – $9.99 a month (Both with Ads)
- To add Hulu & ESPN+ – $12.99 a month (With Ads)
- Hulu + LiveTV with Disney+ & Hulu – $69.99 a month (With Ads)
Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, stated that the new ad-supported platform offering would provide greater consumer choice at various price points, on top of over 100,000 movie titles, TV episodes, original shows and more. However, the company has noted that children’s profiles and pre-school content will have no advertising at the launch of the ad-tiers.
If you’re already subscribed and choose to remain on the Premium (No Ads) tier, you won’t have to take any action as you’ll be charged the new price change on the billing cycle after the price increase comes into play.
Some users believe that to justify the increased price, the platform needs to add more general content to the UK version of the service, as many subscribers prefer the US and Canada libraries. There are also rumours of a possible merge between Disney+ and Hulu, given their frequent bundles. Neither company has confirmed this, but their plans seem to hint at a merge announcement in 2023. On the other hand, Comcast owns nearly a third of Hulu, and there’s an agreement that Disney cannot purchase Comcast’s share until 2024 unless Comcast agrees to the purchase.
The price rises are a response to the operating losses of streamers. Production costs and content acquisition caused Disney, Hulu and ESPN+ to collectively lose $1.1 billion in the most recent quarter of 2022, with Disney, in particular, expecting to lose money until 2024.