So, I woke up this morning, like millions of other subscribers to Disney Plus (221 million subscribers to be precise, going on the very latest figures, making Disney+ the biggest streaming service in the world for the first time), to see that Disney is hiking the price of its streaming service by 38%.
That large 38% increase means that the monthly price of Disney Plus, from 8 December this year, will rise from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month. That means if you pay for twelve months of Disney Plus next year, paying monthly, you'll spend $131.88, rather than $95.88 – a $36 price rise.
And, like me, I am sure many of these subscribers' initial reactions to this will have been impactful to say the least. I know it was for me. After all, nobody likes waking up to find out that the service they've loved and used massively over the past couple of years is suddenly going to cost markedly more than it does now.
Regular readers of T3 will know what a huge proponent of Disney+ I've been, literally, since its launch. From writing our Disney+ review, to covering Disney+ Day, and covering each new feature development, I've been recommending Disney+ to people for years as the best streaming service to subscribe to.
But, the thing is, as shocking as this price rise is, I'm sorry but it was 100% inevitable and anyone who didn't see this coming was being wilfully naïve.
Disney Plus has cost $7.99 per month since it launched, which is a crazy-low price compared to rival services and for the vast scope of content delivered by the service. Netflix's top-tier of subscription, which is what you need for 4K HDR streaming (offered by Disney+ for $7.99), costs in contrast $19.99 per month. I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the difference there in terms of spend.
It has been clear as day since Disney+ launched that Disney was subsiding its streaming service, pouring billions of dollars (opens in new tab) into the service to supply it with content and develop its application. It's a classic move, right – a company that wants to break into a market spends big out of the gate to get a market share, before then increasing the prices of that product to recoup costs and, hopefully, become profitable.
It's the exact same thing that Microsoft is doing with Xbox Game Pass right now in the gaming space in its attempt to claw back market share after its disappointing last console generation. Like Disney has done here, though, I'd bet heavily on an Xbox Game Pass price rise as soon as Microsoft is back on equal footing with Sony PlayStation.
So, this price rise isn't shocking at all really to me. And, what's more, I certainly won't be immediately cancelling my Disney+ subscription either. Here's why.
Disney Plus price rise opinion: I'm not cancelling, yet
So, why am I not cancelling?
Well, one, the price rise doesn't happen until 8 December, so we've all got a bit of time before the new financial reality bites. Can I suck up the extra $3 a month come December? Yes. But that's not really the point, or why I'm not committing to cancelling my Disney+ sub at the end of the year.
I'm not cancelling as, simply put, Disney+ is absolutely smashing it for me right now with content. From the glorious new Predator movie, Prey, to the 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes Only Murders In The Building, to family-friendly hits such as Lightyear and onto golden oldy TV series I'm re-watching like Scrubs, I just am getting fantastic value.
From my perspective, 2022 has been a smorgasbord of awesome on Disney+ and, looking at the release schedule for the rest of the year, plenty more is incoming. Providing Disney can keep up this quality I will be happy to pay more for it.
But, that's the key. Disney has to keep providing quality shows that I want to watch regularly, as with the higher price going into 2023, if it doesn't then I'll bounce out faster than Speedy Gonzales.
I feel we're at the fiercest part of the streaming war right now, with an absolute myriad of rival services on offer, from Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video, to Peacock, Hulu, Paramount Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and many more, too, so any sign of weakness will see my money shifted to a rival, as I am sure will be the case for hundreds of millions of other streamers.
So, yes, the price rise isn't exactly welcome news but I feel it was inevitable. And, further, I don't think it necessarily means it is a deal breaker, either. It just puts proper pressure on Disney to keep delivering, as while it is now number one in the streaming service charts, that could all change very quickly if quality plunges.