Disney Raises Price of Hulu + Live TV by $10 a Month

Hulu is raising rates for their Hulu + Live TV package by $10 a month, an 18% increase over the current price of $54.99. Hulu, which has about 4.1 million live TV subscribers, is now priced evenly with YouTube TV at $64.99 per month. The price goes into effect December 18, says Deadline. Hulu’s on-demand streaming service has 32.5 million subscribers for a total of 36.6 million Hulu subscribers. Overall, Disney has 120 million paid subscribers between the two Hulu subscriptions, Disney+ and ESPN+.

The price hike comes just days after Disney reported fourth quarter fiscal year 2020 financials where the company reported a net loss from continuing operations of $710 million. This was the company’s first loss in decades.

On the earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that interest in Hulu’s live TV subscription is growing rapidly.

“We’ve got a product that we’re really excited about and has experienced some rapid growth and that’s Hulu + Live TV. And it really gives the utility that consumers might normally find from the cable or satellite subscriber and be able to get it over-the-top directly to their homes,” Chapek said on the call. “I’m a personal big fan of it. I use it, and it’s really slick. It’s very elegant, and it really is a big solution provider. It’s really the complete solution, I think.”

Hulu launched its live + streaming subscription service in 2017. At that time, the service included 50 channels for $40 a month. The service included major broadcast networks including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as popular cable channels including ESPN, TBS, TNT and Disney. Other premium networks like Showtime were available as add-ons.

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The current Hulu live TV service offers more than 65 live channels and access to Hulu’s entire streaming library. The exact channels available depend on a subscriber’s location. Here is a sampling of the networks that are available through a Hulu + Live TV subscription.

Channel selection for Hulu + Live TV varies by subscriber location
Channel selection for Hulu + Live TV varies by subscriber location. Image courtesy of Hulu.

Highlights of live TV service

Key highlights of Hulu’s live TV + on-demand product are the ability to watch live sports and news, as well as the latest episodes of hit shows, premium Hulu originals, exclusive series, and classic programs. In addition, subscribers can stream on two devices simultaneously, and they can record live TV to watch later with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage space. Hulu + Live TV can be streamed online and on iOS, Android, Roku, Fire TV and Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, and other compatible devices. Hulu + Live TV still offers add-ons. Current add-ons include an enhanced cloud DVR, unlimited screens, HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and Entertainment and Español add-ons.

Other features

Hulu + Live TV comes with a seven-day free trial. Hulu is also available without live TV. The ad-supported plan is $5.99 a month. Don’t want Hulu’s on-demand offerings? Save $1 a month with a Live TV Only plan ($53.99 now, or $63.99 starting December 18).

Competitors

Hulu is only one of several providers that offer a combination of live TV and streaming subscription services. YouTube TV and Sling TV are two of the more recognizable services. YouTube’s offerings are fairly close to Hulu + Live TV. Sling TV, however, offers 50+ channels of news, sports, and cable channels, starting at $30 a month. They offer a three-day free trial.

Insider Take

Disney is making some big moves in 2020, and the steep price increase for Hulu + Live TV is just one component of their new direct-to-consumer streaming video subscription strategy. Understandably, Disney needs to compensate for the huge revenue losses from their Parks’ segment. With its direct-to-consumer streaming services going so well, it seems an odd time to change things up by removing free trials (Disney+) and raising prices (ESPN+) and Hulu + Live TV. However, people love Disney’s content and they have captive audiences right now, so now is just as good a time as any to raise prices. They are likely to see some churn, but the price increase of $10 per subscriber per month is likely to make up for it.