Disney Plus gets a new ad-supported tier ahead of Netflix — but there's a catch

The Mandalorian on Disney+
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Disney has announced new pricing for its streaming services.
  • Disney+ and Hulu are raising prices of their current plans by a few dollars, while bundle prices are also changing.
  • Disney+ is launching a new ad-supported tier that will cost the same as the current plan.

Disney+ has managed to offer great content at a surprisingly affordable price, but that's about to change as the company has just announced a slew of changes coming to its services.

On Wednesday, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be raising the prices of its current plans for Disney+ and Hulu in the United States. Disney+ will increase by a few dollars to $11 per month, while Hulu will increase its ad-supported and ad-free tiers to $7 and $15, respectively, up from the current $6 and $13.

Some bundled subscriptions are also changing, with the "legacy" Disney Bundle with Hulu ads going up by $1, while additional bundles are being added at lower prices. Disney previously announced a price increase for ESPN+ that takes place later this month.

To make up for the price hikes, Disney will start offering a "cheaper" tier for Disney+, which will cost the same $8 per month as the existing plan but will now include ads.

It's a bit confusing, but you can see the new pricing below, which includes legacy plans for existing customers:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Disney servicesPlanMonthlyYearly
Disney+Basic (with ads)$7.99Row 0 - Cell 3
Row 1 - Cell 0 Premium (no ads)$10.99$109.99
HuluBasic (with ads)$7.99$79.99
Row 3 - Cell 0 Premium (no ads)$14.99Row 3 - Cell 3
ESPN+With ads$9.99$99.99
Row 5 - Cell 0 UFC PPV$74.99 (per event)Row 5 - Cell 3
Row 6 - Cell 0 UFC PPV + AnnualRow 6 - Cell 2 $124.98

Below is the updates subscription costs for the bundles plans, including legacy plans for existing customers:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Disney bundlesPlanMonthly
Disney BundleBasic (With ads): Disney+, Hulu$9.99
Row 1 - Cell 0 Basic (With Ads): Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+$12.99
Row 2 - Cell 0 Legacy: Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (With Ads), ESPN+ (With Ads)$14.99
Row 3 - Cell 0 Premium: Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (No Ads), ESPN+ (With Ads)$19.99
Hulu + Live TVBasic (With Ads): Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+$69.99
Row 5 - Cell 0 Legacy: Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (With Ads), ESPN+ (With Ads)$74.99
Row 6 - Cell 0 Premium: Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (No Ads), ESPN+ (With Ads)$82.99

New pricing for Hulu individual plans will occur on October 10, while the remaining pricing and plans (minus ESPN+) go into effect on December 8.

According to Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, the company is looking to expand its plans to provide "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." In other words, costs are rising, and the company needs to make up for it somehow.

The announcement coincides with the company's earnings report on Wednesday, reflecting higher revenues but more operating losses. According to Disney, "Direct-to-Consumer revenues for the quarter increased 19% to $5.1 billion and operating loss increased $0.8 billion to $1.1 billion." The operating loss was mostly attributed to Disney+. Despite that, the company reported that more than 14 million subscribers were added to the service.

Disney is not the only company bowing to the effects of a growing streaming industry as companies compete by investing more in compelling content. Netflix has had a notably tough year that ultimately led to the service announcing that it, too, will introduce an ad-supported tier that will debut sometime in early 2023. Warner also announced that it plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single streaming service next summer, although exact details on the newly combined service are still largely unknown at this moment.

Disney notably reported 221 million subscribers between its three streaming services, beating out Netflix, which recently dropped to 220.67 million.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.