Just a few months after Disney and Hulu announced they were removing series from their streaming services, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the prices of both services would be increasing. After launching the service at $6.99 a month in 2019, the ad-free version of the service will be up to $13.99 a month come October 2023. Hulu's base price and the various Disney/Hulu/ ESPN bundles will also experience price hikes. And we haven't even gotten to the direct-to-consumer ESPN stuff yet.
So what are we paying for all this nonsense while writers and actors are currently striking over unfair deals? It's actually staggering to look at all the numbers stacked on top of each other.
How many streaming services subscriptions do you currently have? How many passwords are you sharing? (Keeping in mind streamers are now focused on cracking down.) Are you missing out on anything because you refuse to pay for another service? Have you, a savvy cord-cutter, ever actually considered how much you could be spending on a monthly basis to stay up to date on all the most popular movies and television shows? And is it even worth it?
CURRENT STREAMING SERVICE PRICES
Netflix: Ads $6.99, Basic $9.99, Standard $15.49, Premium $19.99
Peacock: Ad-supported "Premium" $4.99, Ad-Free "Premium Plus" $9.99
Paramount+: Ads $4.99, No Ads $9.99 ($49.99 / $99.99 annually)
Amazon Prime: $14.99 (comes with free 2-day shipping) ($139.00 annually)
Max (Formerly HBO Max): Ads $9.99 ($99.99 annually), Ad-Free $15.99 ($149.99 annually)
Hulu: Ads $7.99, Ad-free $14.99 (plus the Live TV option for $69.99)
Disney+: $7.99 / $10.99
ESPN+: $9.99 ($99.99 annually)
Hulu / Disney+: Ads $9.99
Hulu / Disney+ / ESPN+ bundle: Ads $12.99, Ad-Free $19.99 ($82.99)
MGM+ (formerly Epix): $5.99 ($49.99 annually)
Discovery+: $4.99, $6.99
AMC+: $8.99 monthly, $83.88 annually
The good news is that you have $4.99 that freed up when Quibi went out of business ($6.99 if you were ad-free!). The bad news is that Walt Disney wants that money now. All of it. ESPN+ is going up a dollar. Disney and Hulu are going up $3. Hulu with live TV is going to increase $7 in October.
So currently, for $101.88 you can have Netflix, Peacock, Paramount, Prime, Apple, Max, Hulu, Disney, ESPN, Showtime, Stars, MGM, Discovery, and AMC with a varying amount of ads. Or splurge for $139.88 without any ads. It's $202.88 if you want to add Hulu's Live TV option. Not that Hulu is your only option...
YouTubeTV is $72.99 a month, plus $349 annually for NFL Sunday Ticket. DirecTV Stream starts at $69.99. Philo starts at $25. Then you've got all the "local" cable providers. SlingTV has two packages available for $40 or you can combine them for $55 a month. Fubo TV is available for $74.99, $84.99 or $94.99 depending on how many channels you want. You know, plus basic cable which gets you access to all the live television (and sports!) you can handle, but doesn't give you access to any of the prestige television shows being produced on the streamers.
This is a la carte on steroids. Too many things for everyone to see or discuss. Too many choices to narrow down what's really worth your time. Too much money and not enough time to see it all.
The good news is that a lot of these streamers are going to fail or merge. The bad news is that they're just going to combine prices so it's one budget line instead of two. There honestly looks like there's no way out for consumers.