Disney has set pricing and date for the U.S. launch of the version of Disney+ with ads, while also hiking the monthly price of the Disney+ tier with no ads. It’s also going to raise rates for Hulu — both ad-supported and ad-free versions — and introduce new Disney Bundle options.
Disney+ Basic, which is the name of the plan with ads, will launch Dec. 8 in the U.S. for $7.99/month. That’s the price of the current ad-free version of Disney+, which at that time will bump up to $10.99/month, a 38% increase, and will be known as Disney+ Premium.
The ad-supported version of Disney+ will include all the same content that is available in the ad-free tier, although some titles may not run advertising, according to the company.
Disney+ Basic will launch with about four minutes of ads per hour. It will start with 15- and 30-second spots but will expand to a “full suite of ad products” over time, Disney Advertising Sales president Rita Ferro said at an investment conference this spring. Disney+ with ads will not accept political or alcohol ads, nor will it run ads in kids’ profiles or against preschool programming. The company expects that the majority of Disney+ customers will opt for the cheaper, ad-supported plan over time, similar to Hulu (which has two-thirds of its subscriber base on ad-supported plans).
The strategy appears aimed at mitigating Disney+ subscriber irritation over the price hike on the no-ads plan — and the inevitable cancelations — with the intro of Disney+ Basic at the same price point, albeit with ads stuck into the mix.
Meanwhile, as of Oct. 10, Disney will increase the price of Hulu with ads, from $6.99 to $7.99 per month, while the ad-free tier will go from $12.99 to $14.99 per month. The Disney Bundle in the U.S. (Hulu with ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+) will go from $13.99 to $14.99 per month; the premium version of the bundle (Hulu no ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+) will remain at $19.99 per month.
As previously announced, ESPN+ rates will increase in August, going from $6.99 to $9.99 per month.
“With our new ad-supported Disney+ offering and an expanded lineup of plans across our entire streaming portfolio, we will be providing greater consumer choice at a variety of price points to cater to the diverse needs of our viewers and appeal to an even broader audience,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement.
Disney announced its updated streaming pricing and plans in reporting results for the June 2022 quarter, which topped Wall Street estimates. The company gained 14.4 million Disney+ subs in the period, handily topping the 10 million that analysts forecast, to reach 152.1 million as of July 2.
In 2023, the company plans to expand the rollout of Disney+ with ads internationally, CFO Christine McCarthy told analysts.
Here’s the new pricing for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming services as of Dec. 8 (except where noted) in the U.S.:
Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ Standalone Plans
Disney+ Basic (with ads): $7.99 per month; no annual option
Disney + Premium (no ads): $10.99 per month; $109.99 annually
Hulu Basic (with ads)*: $7.99 per month; $79.99 annually
Hulu Premium (no ads)*: $14.99 per month; no annual option
ESPN+**: $9.99 per month; $99.99 annually
* Hulu price increases effective Oct. 10
** ESPN+ price increases effective Aug. 23
Disney Bundle Plans
Basic (with ads): Disney+, Hulu: $9.99 per month
Basic (with ads): Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+: $12.99 per month
Legacy*: Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (with ads), ESPN+ (with ads): $14.99 per month
Premium: Disney+ (no ads), Hulu (no ads), ESPN+ (with ads): $19.99 per month
* Existing subscribers only
Hulu + Live TV
Basic: Includes Hulu SVOD with ads, Disney+ with ads, ESPN+: $69.99 per month
Legacy*: Includes Hulu SVOD with ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+: $74.99 per month
Premium: Includes Hulu SVOD without ads, Disney+ no ads, ESPN+: $82.99 per month
* Existing subscribers only