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With U.S. Fee Hike, Is Disney+ Without Ads Overpriced?

Paramount+ offers best value among top U.S. streaming services, according to Ampere Analysis

Disney Plus
Courtesy of Disney

The price of the ad-free version of Disney+ in the U.S. is now $10.99 per month — and that may be more than the market value of the content on the streaming service, according to a recent analysis.

As of Dec. 8, Disney+ Premium (with no ads) now costs $3 more per month for new and existing U.S. customers (who are not on special promotional plans), an increase of 38%. Concurrently, the company has launched Disney+ Basic, the plan that includes ads, which is available in the U.S. for $7.99/month (the previous price point of the ad-free version of Disney+).

But at $11 per month, Disney+ Premium costs 17% more than the estimated $9.42/month market value of the TV shows, movies and specials on the service, according to newly released data from research firm Ampere Analysis. The report uses Ampere’s popularity and critical rating metrics to assess the relative market value of content (from both in-house and third-party sources) compared with the weighted average price for top U.S. streaming services.

Prior to the change in Disney+’s pricing, the service was a close second behind Paramount+ in the U.S. in terms of value, according to Ampere:

Bob Chapek, the former Disney CEO who was abruptly ousted last month, had recently claimed that even with the price hike on the Disney+ ad-free tier, “I think we’re way underpriced relative to the value we provide.” At $10.99 per month, Disney+ Premium remains cheaper than comparable HBO Max or Netflix plans.

To be fair, the Ampere study analyzed pricing and content from January-July 2022 — therefore, it doesn’t take into account programming the respective streaming services have added since. For example, in the last four months, Disney+ has released content including Marvel’s “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” “Pinocchio,” starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto, Star Wars series “Andor” and “Toy Story” prequel movie “Lightyear.” So it stands to reason recent additions could have boosted the overall market value of Disney+’s lineup.

Meanwhile, Paramount+ offered the best value among major streaming services in the U.S, with an average price of $6/month and content value of over $8.50 a month, Ampere found. Netflix’s content value was pegged at $14.60, higher than its average weighted pricing but lower than the $15.49/month Standard (no ads) plan, while HBO Max delivered content value of $12.75/month, below the no-ads $14.99/month current price. The estimated value of Amazon’s Prime Video content was $10.38/month, per Ampere; that’s significantly below the $14.99 price of a standalone Prime Video U.S. subscription but the cost comparison is cloudier here because most Prime Video users have access to the service through the broader Prime membership program for $139/year.

Ampere said the analysis suggests Paramount+ “has plenty of headroom” for price increases while still remaining competitive with streaming peers based on its content offering. The study found that licensed content on Paramount+, including “The Brady Bunch” and “Star Trek: The Original Series,” contributed to 28% of the service’s market value, despite representing just 9% of the titles available on the platform. Other library content on Paramount+ that enhance its value include the Godfather movie francise, “NCIS,” “CSI,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “iCarly,” per Ampere.

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