To bolster its streaming business and address revenue concerns, Disney has unveiled a series of changes that will affect its streaming services, including a price hike, aggressive promotion of bundled plans and a likely crackdown on password-sharing in 2024.
Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, revealed that the company is actively exploring ways to tackle password-sharing. However, it is important to note that Disney is not the only one going for a crackdown on password sharing.
Netflix began password-sharing crackdowns in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Span in February this year. Along with that, users of Netflix will have to shed an extra $7.99 per month for one extra member outside the household.
The CEO acknowledged the company’s technical capability to monitor account sign-ins and expressed a commitment to address the problem by 2024. While the exact figures were not disclosed, Iger emphasised that password sharing is a significant concern for the company.
“While it is likely you’ll see some impact in calendar 24, it’s possible that… the work will not be completed within the calendar year,” Iger said. “But we certainly have established this as a real priority, and we think there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”
Starting later this year, Disney plans to update its subscriber agreements with additional terms and sharing policies. These changes will ensure that each account is being used appropriately and that the company’s services are compensated fairly.
Disney is launching a new bundled subscription plan on September 6th. The bundle will include free Disney Plus and Huly for $19.99 per month. And as such, the price of individual subscriptions to Disney Plus and Hulu will rise from October. The Disney Plus individual plan will cost $13.99 per month (up from $10.99), and the Hulu plan will cost $17.99 per month (up from 14.99).
Furthermore, the monthly rates for the Hulu + Live TV packages will experience an upward shift of $7 for each tier, effective October 12th. The version with ads will be priced at $76.99, and the no-ad option for Video on Demand (VOD) will climb to $89.99. Simultaneously, ESPN+ will see a modest price hike of one dollar, transitioning from $9.99 to $10.99 monthly.
On the international front, Disney is poised to extend its ad-supported Disney+ plans to new territories, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and eight other European countries commencing November 1st. This expansion will be accompanied by monthly subscription prices of $7.99 in Canada, £4.99 in the U.K., and €5.99 across European markets, encompassing France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Notably, Disney has outlined its intention to implement a subscription price increase for the ad-free version of Disney+ in these markets in December 2023.
Disney Plus subscribers in the US and Canada decreased marginally from 46.3 million to 46 million. The company suffered a massive loss in India. Disney’s India-based service, Hotstar, lost about 12 million subscribers since April. This decline is largely attributed to Disney’s losing streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the previous year. In contrast, Disney’s other streaming platforms, ESPN Plus and Hulu, witnessed only minor fluctuations in their subscriber numbers.
“The strong momentum of our ad-supported plans in the U.S. demonstrates the importance of providing consumers with choice, flexibility and value,” said Joe Earley, president of direct-to-consumer for Disney Entertainment.