Hulu is raising the prices on its two most expensive membership tiers, but it will now include Disney+ and ESPN+ in those services. According to a report by The Verge, Hulu + Live TV will jump from $65 per month to $70 per month, while Hulu + Live TV with no ads will jump from $71 to $76. Still, these may be the best deal yet for customers seeking a streaming alternative to cable.
Hulu's two live TV membership tiers were already enticing options for cord-cutters looking to watch up-to-date network and cable shows, as well as live sports, award shows and other special events. Now, its parent company Disney is sweetening the pot for a relatively slight price increase. The addition $5 per month is still less than a customer would have paid for Disney+ – $7 per month – and ESPN+ – $8 per month – on their own. Of course, for Hulu + Live TV subscribers who are not interested in the bundle, this will only be a disappointment.
To be clear, this change will not impact the much lower tiers Hulu still offers. The streamer's standard ad-support service costs $7 per month, and the ad-free version costs $13 per month. Those prices rose last month, but will not be taking the leap with their live TV counterparts this time around.
Hulu also offers "The Disney Bundle" in these cheaper tiers, which includes Hulu's streaming-only platform, Disney+ and ESPN+ all at a reduced price. One version costs $13.99 per month and includes Hulu with ads, while the other costs $19.99 per month and includes ad-free Hulu. Up until now, customers looking to bundle Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and ESPN+ were looking at an overall bill of $72.99 per month to start. There has not been an ad-free version of this plan until now.
Hulu + Live TV customers were hit with a price hike about a year ago, and it did not go over well at the time. Now, customers are concerned that companies are finding ways to justify raising the prices year after year until their streaming bill will resemble a cable package. At the same time, internet service providers are imposing data limits on more and customers, further complicating the equation when it comes to entertainment.
Hulu + Live TV is the most expensive among the popular "skinny TV bundles" – streaming services that offer live TV and access to in-season shows. At the time of this writing, comparable YouTube TV and Fubo TV plans both start at $65, so Hulu is taking a serious risk by raising the price to offer ancillary products which some might not be interested in.
The new Hulu + Live TV pricing and bundles go into effect on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Existing customers will be billed at the new price unless they change or cancel their subscription by then.