If you subscribe to ESPN+, you can expect to pay more each month for the streaming TV service soon.
Disney, which is ESPN’s parent company, dropped the bad news on July 15 that many consumers of its sports streaming product soon will face a 43% price increase. Ouch!
Team Clark has all of the details. I’ll give you some tips for avoiding this price increase and do a little speculating on what this could mean for both Disney+ and The Disney Bundle pricing in the near future.
ESPN+ Customers Soon Will Pay 43% More for Streaming Access
If you pay for ESPN+ as a stand-alone streaming product, you soon will see your bill go up.
Disney announced that the price for ESPN+ will increase from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month beginning August 23, 2022.
The annual subscription price also will jump from $69.99 to $99.99 per year.
These price increases apply to both new and existing customers who pay for this service by itself.
This decision is unfortunate, but it does not come as a huge surprise. Disney has made significant investments in live sports programming designed specifically for ESPN+ in the last year or so, and it’s probably time to start cashing in on that content.
3 Ways To Avoid the Price Increase for Now
Though the price increase for this service is likely to impact you eventually no matter what you do, there still are some ways to avoid it in the short term.
1. Subscribe to The Disney Bundle
If you’re a customer of The Disney Bundle, which is a popular package that combines ESPN+ with Hulu and Disney+, you won’t see a price increase — right now. That’s good news.
You can still get access to all three of three services for $13.99 per month as a part of that bundle.
That was already a pretty good deal, but with this ESPN+ price increase, now it looks like a great way to save on three services, as they’d cost upward of $25 per month to subscribe to individually.
2. Use Hulu + Live TV As Your Live Streaming TV Source
That’s because Hulu’s live streaming TV service now includes The Disney Bundle as part of its base subscription.
The monthly price is $69.99, but that gives you all three streaming services in the bundle along with more than 80 of the top live channels available.
An ESPN+ customer who pays $65 per month for livestreaming through YouTube TV could actually save money by switching to Hulu + Live TV because of the bundle.
It’s important to note that many of the top sporting events that ESPN televises require access to the ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU family of networks. So while a stand-alone ESPN+ subscription is nice, pairing it with a live TV streaming service will ensure you get to enjoy the maximum amount of live sports content ESPN has to offer.
3. Lock In an Annual Subscription Before the Price Increases
As I mentioned above, the ESPN+ price increase takes effect on August 23.
That means you still have time to take some action if neither of the first two options works for you and you want to keep a stand-alone subscription.
If you go ahead and pay for an annual subscription, which is still priced at $69.99 before the impending $30 hike, you should be able to lock in the cheaper rate for the next 12 months.
That won’t save you from paying the increased rate in August 2023, but it will at least kick the can down the road a little and allow you to enjoy the existing rate for a bit longer.
Could a Disney+ Price Increase Be Next?
Though ESPN+ has seen a growth in its content options in the last year or two, it does seem odd that it’s getting ready to be more expensive than its sister streaming service Disney+.
Most streamers would consider Disney+ to be the more valuable of the two, given its very large library of original and legacy streaming content.
We know that Disney+, which costs $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year for ad-free streaming, is going to be introducing an ad-supported tier sometime soon.
Could it be possible that the ad-free version of Disney+ will see a similar price increase to the one that ESPN+ just announced? It seems entirely possible — and almost predictable.
Disney could be making plans based on the idea that a cheaper, ad-supported version of the service would keep value-minded streamers even if it increases the price of the ad-free experience.
Some of the data available on streaming services already offering ad-free versus ad-supported tiers indicate that this could be a viable plan.
Ad-Supported vs. Ad-Free Streaming Pricing
|Streaming Service||Ad-Supported Monthly Price||Ad-Free Monthly Price|
As you can see in the chart above, the spread between ad-supported and ad-free content ranges from $2 to $6 per month.
With an existing ad-free price of $7.99 per month, Disney+ could either offer a significant discount to bring the ad-supported cost under $5, or it could choose to raise the pricing on the ad-free subscription as a part of this shift in strategy.
It’s worth noting that Hulu is Disney’s streaming partner, so that $6 spread between its ad-supported and ad-free tiers could also be a hint at future pricing.
My prediction is that we’ll see Disney+ try something similar by the end of 2022.
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