Subscribers of Hulu + Live TV are learning today that not only will they soon be paying $5 a month more for the service, but they’ll also be getting Disney+ and ESPN+ in the bargain.
According to Variety, Disney-owned Hulu began breaking the news to Hulu + Live TV subscribers today that the monthly price of the service will go up to $69.99 starting December 21.
Included for that price will be access to both Disney+ and ESPN+, which on their own cost $8 a month and $7/month respectively.
Those Hulu + Live TV subscribers who are already paying for Disney+ and/or ESPN+ will be reimbursed during the changeover, Variety reports.
Meanwhile, subscribers of Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV will see their monthly rates increase from $70.99 to $75.99, and they too will get Disney+ and Hulu+ bundled with their plans.
Of course, there already is a “Disney Bundle” that bundles Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and Hulu+, for $72.99 a month (for the standard Hulu+ Live TV) and $78.99 a month (for the ad-free version of Hulu + Live TV), so the newly announced bundle will represent a $3/month price drop.
The move comes on the heels of a $1-a-month price hike for on-demand, non-live TV Hulu back in October. That price increase saw the ad-supported version of Hulu increase to $6.99 a month, while Hulu without ads went up to $12.99 a month.
The newly bundled Hulu + Live TV/Disney+/ESPN+ package also brings to mind the recent NBC/Universal/YouTube TV brouhaha. During that standoff, word had it that NBCU wanted YouTube to bundle Peacock with YouTube TV while raising the price of the service by $10 a month. YouTube balked, and the two sides ultimately came to a deal that included neither Peacock nor a price hike.
As Variety points out, Disney’s rationale behind bundling Hulu + Live TV is obvious. The entertainment giant is looking to jump-start Disney+’s slumping subscription numbers, and the new Hulu + Live TV/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle is an easy way to do just that.
So while the resolution of the NBCU/YouTube TV drama looked like a welcome rebuke to the old pay TV bundling strategy, the new Hulu + Live TV bundle gives it a fresh gulp of oxygen.