TV & Showbiz

Hulu Price Hike Coming in October

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Disney announced a modest Hulu price hike that will take effect on Oct. 8 for its customers, whether they watch ad-free or ad-supported.

Is a Hulu price increase a major blunder? Well, the price is only going up a buck a month. But reading some reports about it might make it seem like they’re going up about $40 per month!

Hulu, which is owned by Disney and Comcast, notified its customers last week of a price hike. The ad-supported version of its streaming service would go from $5.99 per month to $6.99. The ad-free version will increase to $12.99 per month from $11.99.

Call me cheap, but I’ll live with the ads to get the service half-price.

In the grand scheme of things, a dollar a month doesn’t seem like much. But everything has been going up these days. As I pointed out earlier this year, when you cut the cord to save on cable, it’s easy for all of the individual streaming services available to add up quickly.

It’s worth noting that Disney’s bundle and Live TV plans won’t go up in price. But the Disney bundle already went up by $1 earlier this year…so that simply beat Hulu to the punch.

Hulu price change faces criticism…and not just from customers

Inc. called the change a “rookie mistake,” accusing Disney of being “blinded by its own success.” The article points out that compared with Netflix, Hulu’s library is about half as big and is often slow or buggy.

I haven’t noticed any major technical glitches with Hulu. But both Hulu and Netflix lost shows I liked a lot, so neither of them gives me everything I want. I thought recently about killing Netflix, which lost The Andy Griffith Show and some Star Trek titles. But since it recently announced it will air the fourth and final season of Manifest, it suddenly earned a reprieve.

Hulu is the only streamer I subscribe to that offers M*A*S*H, another of my all-time favorite TV shows. But I find movies and other titles occasionally that keep me paying…at least for now.

The Los Angeles Times claims Disney is testing the waters to see how much consumers are willing to pay for the various streaming services to which they subscribe. But if a minor price hike doesn’t cost them a lot of subscribers, they’ll make plenty of profit. (They’ll also start planning their next increase, most likely.)

The Times asks interesting questions, though, including, “How many services will people subscribe to?” and “How does an industry remain solvent when its customers repeatedly cycle from one provider to another?”

No one knows, the article points out. But a price hike might help everyone find out.

How much is too much?

I think there’s no one answer. It depends on the individual household and that household’s budget. Not everyone can afford more than $100 on cable or streaming alternatives. I cut the cord when cable was going to cost me close to $90 or so a month. Now, between Philo, Netflix and Hulu, I pay about $35 per month. Combined with my Amazon Prime Video for being an Amazon Prime member, I get almost everything I’d otherwise miss without cable.

But if that $35 were to hit $40, it might be time to re-evaluate.

If it hit much more than that, something would almost certainly go.

Your household may have a different target in mind. But sooner or later, as more companies edge prices up to see where the boundaries are, many of us may end up switching services to make that boundary more clear.

Come on, now. You didn’t think cutting the cord would save you money forever, did you?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.