Disney recently announced various price increases for its standalone streaming services which are likely to impact on some Hulu Live TV subscribers. To be clear, the cost of the base Hulu Live TV plan is not going up. Not yet, at least. However, the cost for subscribers paying for the more expensive live TV plan, or those wanting to maintain access to ad-free Disney Plus, will increase.
It was only in December 2021 when the cost of Hulu Live TV increased the last time, taking the price of a subscription up to $69.99 per month. In an attempt to somewhat compensate for the higher price, Disney also starting bundling Disney Plus and ESPN Plus subscriptions with the live TV plan. These, along with basic Hulu (already included with the live TV plan), offered pretty good value to those who might have already been subscribing to all of these services separately.
By the end of this year, however, the cost of basic Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus are all increasing. How much and when varies depending on the service, but collectively they do represent a fairly substantial increase. As these streaming services are also bundled with a standard Hulu Live TV subscription, there are some knock-on effects for subscribers of the live TV service.
Again, the price of the standard Hulu live TV plan is not due to increase anytime soon and will continue to cost $69.99 per month. However, Disney plans to launch an ad-supported version of Disney Plus in December and this will then be what’s bundled with the standard Hulu live TV plan for $69.99 per month, along with ad-supported Hulu and ad-supported ESPN Plus.
For anyone signing up to Hulu Live TV after December 8th 2022, they will essentially be getting the various live TV channels bundled with ad-supported versions of the three premium subscriptions. Existing subscribers that are already receiving the same bundle with ad-free Disney Plus for $69.99 per month won’t be forced over to the ad-supported version. However, their monthly price will increase to by $5 to $74.99 per month. Presumably, there won’t be anything stopping them from switching to the cheaper ($69.99/month) plan if they don’t want to pay the higher price, but they will then be switched from the Disney Plus (No Ads) subscription to the new Disney Plus (With Ads) plan.
These changes also impact on those signed up to the most expensive live TV plan. While Hulu Live TV costs $69.99 per month, there are actually two other live tv plans available. The first is the Live TV Only plan which drops the price down to $68.99 per month by removing access to the Hulu streaming library, Disney+ and ESPN+. Then there’s the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan. As the name suggests, the main difference with this plan is that it offers ad-free access to the Hulu streaming library. The Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan currently costs $75.99 per month.
Similar to the change with the standard plan, once Disney rolls out the ad-supported version of Disney Plus, existing subscribers to the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan won’t automatically be downgraded to the Disney (With Ads) plan, but they will see their price increase to $82.99 per month. Unlike the change with the standard plan, it doesn’t look like existing subscribers have much choice.
By what’s understood so far, Disney is preparing to launch this more expensive Hulu Live TV plan as an ad-free premium plan (excluding ESPN Plus), which means subscribers will only be able to downgrade to the ‘with ads’ plan. A downgrade which not only introduces ads to Disney Plus but also basic Hulu as well. Right now it remains unclear if these subscribers will be able to downgrade to the new $74.99 per month plan that legacy standard subscribers will be switched to. Even if they can, however, that plan only removes the ads for Disney Plus and not basic Hulu.
Here’s an overview of the changes:
|Hulu plan||Current Price||Dec. 8 Price|
|Live TV + Ads||N/A||$69.99|
|Live TV + Disney+ (No Ads)*||$69.99||$74.99|
|Live TV + Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (No Ads)||$75.99||$82.99|
Once again, all of these changes won’t take effect until Dec. 8, 2022 so existing subscribers do have some time to figure out which configuration is going to be best for them and their budget. For those that are less interested in the additional services, the December changes might make for a good opportunity to consider one of the alternatives to Hulu Live TV. The same might also be true for the reverse as well. For example, if not in need of all of the channels included with Hulu Live TV, but want access to the additional premium services, it might work out cheaper to subscribe to the standalone Disney Bundle and a separate, cheaper live TV service. Depending on the live TV service, this may result in an even cheaper price than a Hulu Live TV subscriber is currently paying.