The Price of Hulu Is Going Up 13%. Is It Still Worth the Cost?
- Ad-supported Hulu is increasing to $7.99 a month.
- The ad-free Hulu plan will get a $2 increase to $14.99 a month.
- Disney+ prices are also increasing, with the exception of the Premium $19.99 bundle.
These increases make Netflix look less ridiculous.
With all the changes to Netflix over the last year or so, many folks have been ditching the streaming giant for greener pastures. For folks like me, the go-to Netflix alternative has been Hulu, thanks to abundant options and a more reasonable monthly cost.
Well, the price gap is about to shrink.
Disney, the company that owns Hulu, has announced the popular platform is going to see some major price increases starting Oct. 10. (And yes, Disney+ will get its own increase just a few months later.)
Ad-supported Hulu increasing to $7.99
Anyone who currently deals with ads to get Hulu content at a lower price are going to be paying more for the privilege. The Basic ad-supported plan is going from $6.99 to $7.99. That's an increase of roughly 12.5%.
You'll still be able to get a slightly lower cost with an annual subscription, but that price is getting the same hike. The current ad-supported annual plan costs $69.99 a year, or $5.84 a month. That's going up to $79.99, which is an average monthly cost of $6.67.
While the ad-supported Hulu subscription will still cost less than the cheapest Netflix plan (its Basic plan is $9.99 a month) that may not be the case for long. Netflix is planning to debut its own ad-supported plan, and it may actually wind up being the same price -- or even cheaper -- than the new Hulu option.
Hulu without ads going up to $14.99
Those who hate ads have already been paying Hulu extra to eliminate them -- and they're about to pay even more. The current no-ad Hulu plan is $12.99 a month, $6 more than the current ad-supported plan.
Come October, that cost is getting a $2 hike to $14.99 a month. That's an overall increase of 13.3%. It also brings the price difference between the two tiers to $7 a month instead of $6.
Considering that the comparable Netflix tier, its Standard plan, comes in at $15.49, the price difference between the two platforms is definitely shrinking. This may cause some folks who jumped ship to Hulu to save money to reconsider their allegiance.
Bundled prices are also getting bigger
As mentioned above, Disney+ prices are also increasing later this year. It's also introducing an ad-supported version of Disney+ -- previously one of the few services without ads at all.
With both services getting hikes, it makes terrible sense that its combo bundles are getting more expensive, too. There's also going to be two new options utilizing the Disney+ ad-supported plan. This includes a Disney+/Hulu with ads bundle for $9.99 a month, and an option to add ESPN+ (also with ads) for an extra $3.
Subscribers to the current three-service bundle -- Disney+ without ads, Hulu and ESPN+ with ads -- will see an increase from $13.99 a month to $14.99. However, this option may not be available to new customers, as Disney's new price chart terms it as a "legacy" option.
The only tier not getting an increase is the Premium option. This is Disney+ and Hulu without ads and ESPN+ with ads (its only option). The price will remain $19.99 a month.
In the new pricing tiers, the Premium bundle may become more appealing to folks who currently enjoy Disney+ and/or Hulu without ads. (Which is very likely to be Disney's overall motivation.) Additionally, the Premium bundle stays competitive with the top-tier Netflix Premium subscription, which has the same monthly cost.
Finding new ways to save
If you're a single-service user, all these price hikes are seriously bad news, particularly if you moved to streaming to ditch the copious commercials on cable. For many, the choice may come down to putting up with ads -- eww -- canceling entirely (also meh), or forking over the extra cash.
It may also push more people to consider alternative ways to save on streaming. For example, a number of cellphone providers have plans that include "free" streaming subscriptions.
You can also save a bit of money with some strategic credit card use. There are a number of great streaming rewards credit cards that earn as much as 6% back on streaming services. American Express also has a few card options that offer ways to save on Disney bundles.
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