Disney+ price hike starts today: How much is it and what does it get you?

By The MixDex Wire Article may include affiliate links

About a year and half after launching, Disney+ is hiking prices by $1 March 25, 2021.

The move was previously announced in December 2020 and will raise the $6.99 per month base rate to $7.99 a month for the service.

Adding Hulu+ and ESPN+ to the Disney+ subscription is going from $12.99 to $13.99 a month.

There’s still a one year deal for Disney+ that costs $79.99 a month, essentially giving subscribers who sell out the money upfront two free months of the service, but there’s no similar discount for the bundle of all three service.

Customers who originally subscribed to Disney+ at the old rate will have their price locked in for rest of their term. Subscribers who added Hulu+ and ESPN+ later are billed an additional monthly prorated fee.

Disney+ has announced that several big budget series and films have been big successes on the service and is investing in numerous confirmed and rumored original content for the service. That’s likely one of the big drivers for the price increase.

Small, incremental price hikes for streaming services aren’t uncommon, though there’s typically at least some backlash when they’re enacted, even though the overall affect is $12 more a year for just D+ and another $12 for bundle subscribers.

Disney’s price hike comes as the streaming market continues to heat up. Discovery is heavily promoting its new Discovery+ service and CBS just relaunched CBS All Access as Paramount+ with a slew of new content. Apple TV+, meanwhile, has stuck with its original $4.99 a month price and has extended free trials several times — and is also offering account credits for subscribers.

Disney+ has been hailed as one of the best values in streaming — since it contained access to most of the massive Disney archive plus originals based on popular franchises from across the company, including Star Wars and Marvel.

Even with a $1 price hike, it’s still a pretty good bargain.

Rival Netflix still has a larger content library than the mouse’s streamer but costs more and has taken fire for price hikes in the past. Its library of existing content is shrinking as deals expire and it invest billions in its own original content — but that content isn’t necessarily a big draw for every subscriber, some of whom prefer to have access to a large archive of TV shows and movies from many production companies and studios.

Disney+ also doesn’t appear to have as much fluctuation of content availability as Netflix and other streamers — since most of the content is already at least partially owned by Disney, it can likely negotiate streaming rights easier.

Netflix regularly cycles through content — so much so that it’s become come for TV sites to publish articles about “what’s leaving” and “what’s coming” to Netflix each month.

Meanwhile, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, HBO Max and Paramount+ have forked over billions of dollars in licensing deals to become the exclusive streaming home to hits such as “The Office,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends” in addition to investing in original content.

Since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered many movie theaters and stifled attendance on those that are open, Disney+ also added a feature called “Premiere Access” that allows customers to watch new theatrical releases either the same day or shortly after their debuts for a one time flat fee, typically $29.99.

This price includes being able to watch the films purchased via the program for as long as the associated Disney+ account is active (films must be watched through compatible Disney+ apps and releases to services such as Apple TV and other digital formats aren’t made available until at least several weeks later).

Disney also owns ESPN and Hulu, which is the reason it can be bundled and the company has put an emphasis on getting more streaming rights for more popular sporting events on ESPN+ in recent months.

Disney+ is often described as a more “family” oriented service, with Hulu carrying a wider variety of programming, including more edgy titles.