Disney+ and Hulu merging into a single app, the ad-free plan becoming more expensive

The ad-free Disney+ pricing is increasing even though just a few months earlier, the same $11/month subscription used to cost just $8/month.

The Mandalorian and Grogu lying together in bed, reading a book
Your entertainment expenditure will keep on rising | Image: Din Djarin/Unsplash
  • The one-app experience is coming later in 2023 for US viewers. Hulu is already bundled into Disney+ in select countries outside of the US.
  • Disney’s $11/month ad-free plan will also boost its price. Meanwhile, the $8/month ad-supported plan will hit Europe at the end of this year.

Disney+ and Hulu merging into a single app

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced these changes in a May 10 earnings call, saying the combined app will create “a more unified streaming experience” for viewers.

Such a move isn’t unheard-of: Warner Bros. Discovery’s said earlier it will bundle its HBO Max and Discovery+ services into a single app, called Max, later this month.

The CEO wouldn’t say when customers might expect the one-app experience to arrive beyond vaguely stating that it’s slated to arrive by the end of 2023. Disney+ will, however, share new information and details about this change “in the future.”

The price of the ad-free Disney+ subscription is going up

Iger also announced during the call that the price of the company’s ad-free Disney subscription, which currently costs $11/month, will be increasing.

“We plan to set a higher price for our ad-free tier later this year,” he said, adding the price hike will “better reflect the value of our content offerings.” He stopped short of saying precisely how much pricier the ad-free plan will be.

The higher price may prompt some people to cancel their subscriptions. But as long as folks still find value in what they’re paying for, Disney shouldn’t be too worried.

Streaming services are getting more expensive

At any rate, some people will dislike this change. The $11/month plan used to cost $8/month, but Disney raised its price in 2022. The company also jacked up Hulu’s subscription prices, increasing the ad-free tier to $15/month from $13/month. The Disney Basic with ads subscription went from $7/month to $8/month.

“The pricing changes we’ve already implemented have proven successful,” Iger said. Disney will continue offering Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu as standalone options.

Other streamers, including Netflix and Apple, have been slowly but surely raising their subscription prices as the pandemic ended and people began spending their time more productively than sitting in front of their screens all day.

Other factors usually thrown out there to justify these price increases include the ever-increasing costs associated with content acquisition, slowing growth in the streaming sector and subscription churn.