Which Streaming Service is Due For a Price Hike?
As inflation soars across the globe, many are left wondering if they’ll be able to afford their many streaming services. Entertainment budgets are often the first thing slashed when times are tough, and many streaming services are raising prices rather than absorb higher operating costs. It can be hard to predict when companies are about to raise prices, but they do offer clues as to when an increase might be coming. Following up on a report from last fall, these are the 17 biggest streaming services available, as well as our thoughts on whether cord cutters should expect a price increase soon.
Unlikely, Because They’ve Raised Prices Recently
Amazon Prime Video - Amazon increased the cost of its Prime membership in February 2022, from $119 a year to $139. It was the first price increase from Amazon since 2018, when hiked the price from $99 to $119.
Netflix - Netflix announced in January that it would be raising prices on all three of its services. Its basic plan increased from $8.99 to $9.99, while its standard tier increased from $13.99 to $15.49, and its 4K tier increased to $19.99 from 17.99. Netflix’s planned addition of an ad-supported tier will offer subscribers a cheaper option later this year.
ESPN+ - ESPN+ just announced a price increase from $6.99 to $9.99 a month, which will go in effect in late-August. The annual plan will increase from $69.99 to $99.99, but if you subscribe before August 23rd, you can lock in the $30 savings for another year.
DIRECTV STREAM - DIRECTV STREAM did not increase the price of their minimum service, but all the add-on packages available to streamers saw a price increase in January 2022. As of February, however, they began offering a 5-day free trial to new subscribers.
fuboTV - This streamer saw the most recent price hike on this list. It eliminated its $64.99 starter plan, migrating all customers subscribed to that plan to its $69.99 per month Pro plan.
Still Stable…For Now
YouTube TV - In August 2021, Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said “There’s not another any price hike or anything in the near term,” planned for YouTube TV. What the phrase “near term” means specifically isn’t clear, but YouTube TV’s last price hike from $50 to $65 in June 2020 is the longest they’ve gone without a price hike.
Hulu Live TV - Hulu raised the price of its ad-free and ad-supported plans by $1 each last fall, and both tiers of Hulu Live TV were also raised, to $70 a month for the ad-supported tier or $76 a month for the ad-free tier. Subscribers were rewarded with free Disney+ and ESPN+, however.
While Hulu + Live TV could raise prices, it probably wouldn’t come until end of this year, as they traditionally announce price hikes in November/December.
Sling TV - Sling increased its base subscription price for new subscribers in January of 2021, and the change went into effect for existing subscribers last August.
Philo - Philo raised its subscription price from $20 a month to $25 a month in May 2021, but they grandfathered existing customers at their current subscription price. New customers can still get a seven day free trial when they sign up.
Apple TV+ - Apple TV+ still runs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. “Ted Lasso” is by far the company’s biggest hit, and if it adds more tentpole titles an increase may come. But for now, enjoy the stability!
Paramount+ - Though big-name franchises like “Star Trek” and “Halo” added new content to the Paramount+ library this year, the company has no announced plans for a price hike.
Peacock - Peacock continues to be one of the best streaming bargains available, with no price increases on the horizon. Ad-supported viewing on Peacock is $4.99, while an ad-free Peacock premium subscription is $9.99 a month. Xfinity subscribers get $4.99 off either plan, making the Peacock Premium effectively free.
SHOWTIME - No news is good news for Showtime fans. The most recent update on this streaming service was an update this year which allowed Paramount+ subscribers to access Showtime content from the Paramount app. This is also the cheapest way to get a Showtime subscription, as it runs an extra $5.99 with a Paramount+ subscription versus $10.99 as a standalone subscription.
discovery+ - Shark Week fans rejoice: the price of discovery+ hasn’t changed from its $4.99 ad-supported or $6.99 ad-free tiers since its launch. Warner Bros. Discovery does have plans to merge this service with HBO Max, eventually.
HBO Max - When it launched at a $15 price point, HBO Max was one of the most expensive streaming services available. In two years, however, the price hasn’t changed a cent, remaining at $9.99 a month for the ad-supported tier and $15 a month ad-free.
STARZ - STARZ has never gone above the $9 mark. Recently, parent company Lionsgate announced that they were spinning off STARZ, so its pricing stability may be in doubt going forward.
Most Likely to Increase
Disney+ - Disney CEO Bob Chapek was asked in May about price increases in reference to the newly planned ad-supported tier of Disney+. He replied, “We believe that we can, you know, sort of move up and cascade up our net price over time given the tremendous value that we started with, and the increased price-value relationship, all of all the new content, but we’re pretty bullish about that.” Despite a 2021 increase, Chapek’s “bullishness” makes it sound like a hike is coming.
With the upcoming launch of the ad-supported product, Disney could raise the price on the ad-free plan, while still having a cheaper ad-supported option. Given they just raised ESPN+ by 40% from $6.99 to $9.99, the Disney Bundle is most certainly going to see a price hike at some point from $13.99.
Disney+ is a video streaming service with over 13,000 series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more. It is available in 61 countries and 21 languages.
Disney+ has two plans – one with ads and one without ads. Disney+ Basic with Ads costs $7.99 / month. If you don’t want ads, you can choose Disney+ Premium with No Ads which costs $10.99 / month.
The Premium plan also offers an annual option for $109.99 / year ($9.17/mo.).
If you want all of Disney streaming services, they have two options for The Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle Basic includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with Ads) for $7.99 / month. The Disney Bundle Premium (without Ads) for $19.99 / month.
The app supports unlimited downloads (on their Premium Plans), four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.
The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. You can stream original series like “The Mandalorian,” “Ms. Marvel,” “Loki,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and “Andor.”
You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney+ content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.