With the global crisis affecting nearly every corner of the globe, Disney+ has launched a paid ad-supported plan. The basic plan, which has remained at $8 per month since March of last year, now includes ads while streaming. To continue using the streaming service without ads, you’ll need to pay $11 per month, a $3 increase. The Premium plan is now available, and an annual membership costs $110.
Disney announced the price increases before firing former CEO Bob Chapek and rehiring Bob Iger, who oversaw the launch of Disney+ as well as the acquisitions of Fox studios and cable channels, Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm. Even though the total number of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ subscribers increased to 235 million under Chapek’s leadership, the company is experiencing some financial difficulties.
Unlike Netflix’s ad-supported plan, Disney+ Basic provides access to the platform’s entire library as well as high-quality streaming in 4K, Dolby Vision, and the IMAX Enhanced format. Netflix’s Basic with Ads plan, which launched last month, costs $7. It restricts streams to 720p resolution, and some titles are not available. However, neither company’s ad-supported plan includes offline viewing. Other features available to Premium subscribers, such as GroupWatch, SharePlay, and Dolby Atmos, are currently unavailable on Disney+ Basic.
Disney does provide some streaming package deals. Disney+ Basic and Hulu with Ads are both available for $10 per month. You’ll pay $6 less per month than if you subscribed to each separately. There are three options if you want to include ESPN+ in your bundle. You can subscribe to all three services for $13 per month if you don’t mind dealing with advertisements. Disney+ will remove the ads for an additional $2 per month. You’ll have to pay $20 per month to get access to ad-free versions of all three streaming services.
Last quarter, Disney lost $1.5 billion on the streaming side of the business, more than doubling its operating loss of $630 million in the same quarter in 2021. The steeper loss was attributed to higher production and technology costs, as well as higher marketing expenses. The introduction of the ad-supported plan and the increase in Premium pricing could help the streaming business become profitable, though consumers may have to give the company more money or time to do so.