We already knew that Disney+, Disney’s upcoming subscription streaming service, was going to be offered as an add-on for Hulu subscribers, but now we have a few more details about the scope of what Disney has in mind. Bob Iger, the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced today on an investor call that a Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ bundle will be available this November and it will cost $12.99 per month. Read on to see how that compares with several other streaming service prices.
Disney+ would probably still be worth its low price point of only $6.99 per month if it was only offering access to the back catalogues of Disney and 20th Century Fox films, but the addition of new original movies and TV shows (including entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars galaxy) makes it a must-have service for us. Bundling it with Hulu for $12.99 is a good deal – that’s the same price as Netflix’s standard plan and as a subscription to Amazon Prime, and well below HBO Now, which is currently $14.99 per month, and HBO Max, which is aiming to launch at the cost of somewhere between $16-17 monthly.
The stupid thing here is that Disney is including ESPN+, its struggling sports service, in a subscription plan it knows everyone else wants. That reminds me of the way some other companies do business…oh right, that’s how cable companies work. They built an entire business model on essentially forcing unwanted channels on customers, destroying the idea of an a la carte model and ultimately frustrating customers into cutting the cord entirely. I get it: ESPN has been flailing for years, and Disney needs a way to keep it afloat. If it offered a bundle that just featured Disney+ and Hulu, it would be signing off on ESPN+’s slow demise. I’m jumping for joy at the idea of being able to scroll through the “hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films including 30 for 30, and more” that it offers. (Sarcasm aside, though, several of the 30 for 30 documentaries are genuinely riveting.)
“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers,” Iger said in a press release.
The Verge reports that while it’s still unknown if this planned bundle is going to be available outside of the United States, the streaming services may be available through “Amazon, Apple, and other distributors,” because Iger feels that “it’s important for us to achieve scale quickly, and we think it’s going to be an important part of that. They’re all interested in distributing the product.”
Disney+ launches on November 12, 2019.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated ESPN+ had been operating for years, when in fact, it launched in April of 2018. The article has been updated to reflect that.
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