Opinion: Disney+ with Ads pricing disappoints

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 11, 2022
Music and Video

Disney unveiled upcoming price changes to its streaming service Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN this week. The company announced plans to increase the price of a Disney+ subscription by $3 to $10.99 per month in the United States.

The much awaited Disney+ with Ads plan will be available for $7.99 per month.

Starting December 8, 2022, Disney+ subscribers in the United States will have to pay an extra $3 per month to watch the streaming service's content without ads; this is a price increase of 38%.

Subscriptions for Hulu, which is also owned by Disney, will increase by $2 per month starting October 10, 2022.Subscribers have to pay $14.99 instead of $12.99 from that month onward. Hulu with ads pricing is raised from $6.99 per month to $7.99 per month. Last month, Disney announced that ESPN+ subscriptions would increase to $9.99 per month.

Disney's streaming services operate at a loss at the moment. Combined, Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ accumulated a loss of $1.1 billion in the fiscal third quarter, even though subscriber numbers continued to grow.

Disney has yet to announce Disney+ with ads pricing for other regions the service is offered in. Judging from the US price of subscription, it is likely that the price of Disney+ with ads will be about the same in other regions.

Disney revealed earlier this year that it plans to run about 4 minutes of ads per hour.

Disney+ with ads price disappoints

The new Disney+ with ads price is the same as the old price without ads. That alone does not sound like a particularly good deal for subscribers who have hoped that the ad-powered version of Disney+ would give them a bigger discount.

The $3 price increase for the ad-free version of Disney+ makes the service more expensive than Netflix's basic plan, which is available for $9.99 in the United States. It is still $9 cheaper than Netflix's Premium plan, that is offering Ultra HD streams.

Subscribers from the United States have an edge over subscribers from many other regions Disney streaming services are offered in. Disney announced subscription bundles for customers who want to subscribe to more than one service.

The two basic plans, with ads, give customers access to Disney+ and Hulu for $9.99 per month, and to Disney#, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 per month.

Disney is not the only streaming provider that announced price increases in the past couple of months. Amazon announced that it plans to increase the price of Amazon Prime in several European countries.

My advise that I published back then still stands: subscribe to one or two months per year only, and not for the entire year. Doing so, you are still able to watch all of the provided content, albeit only during the subscription period. While that may mean a delay before you may watch a show or movie, it saves you a lot of money.

Now You: what is your take on the ad-powered subscription plans? Will you make use of them?

Opinion: Disney+ with Ads pricing disappoints
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Opinion: Disney+ with Ads pricing disappoints
Disney unveiled upcoming price changes to its streaming service Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN this week, and the price with ads disappointed.
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  1. Yanta said on August 12, 2022 at 3:09 am

    Running at a loss? Solution: Shutdown all the streaming services. Stop making movies and TV Shows. Make people engage with their neighbors and be sociable.

    All content is the same regurgitated garbage anyway. And for some countries, you could be paying as much as A$400+ per month across all streaming services and still only get 50% of all of the content.

  2. Yash said on August 11, 2022 at 12:13 pm

    I ain’t broke but I watch any show I want without a subscription. And these price hikes pushes me away to even consider subscription to any streaming service.

  3. Paul(us) said on August 11, 2022 at 11:32 am

    The films of Disney are always reminiscent of or made at the Walt Disney Company theme park everything is especially in simplified, sanitized, or romanticized form.

    Perhaps it would also be helpful to mention that the word Disney is a designation for a non-custodial parent who, when spending time with his child or children, spoils them with gifts, special outings, and other treats, leaving the disciplinary responsibilities to the custodial parent.

    1. VioletMoon said on August 11, 2022 at 4:40 pm


      Interesting concept, not necessarily new, but well-phrased: “non-custodial parent.”

      Long ago, before the idea of offering an ad-tier to streaming, I appreciated Amazon Prime and being able to watch so many shows and movies ad-free. It was even possible to log in to Amazon Prime in Britain and watch an entirely different set of offerings. I think that was when Hulu was the only other option, and Hulu had ads.

      For me, then, the whole idea of “streaming” was the elimination of ads. Now? The future is bleak. I notice many families around me subscribing to three or four streaming services–far beyond the budget of any middle class family, but they do it to “appease” the rants and raves of the children who beg to see some show. It’s a “keep up with the neighbors” syndrome.

      I prefer to remain on a budget and watch what may come along with my Amazon Prime; reading is a great activity that stimulates the intellect and imagination, maybe more so than watching shows. The library has plenty of foreign movie titles that are easy enough to check out for a week.

      Disappointing. Somewhere there’s a kink in the system, in the sense that Disney is compelled by something [competition/shareholder expectations] to increase pricing to the point of hideous exploitation of the viewer.

      Not making sense–how, why aren’t they making money as is?

      The company doesn’t know “when enough [profit] is enough? Eventually, subscribers will abandon all streaming and find better avenues for entertainment. A hope I have for the future.

      I have an innate abhorrence for ads. Makes me shudder. There may be a day when my e-books are delivered with ads inserted between chapters. Oh my gosh!

      1. Paul(us) said on August 11, 2022 at 5:53 pm

        Disney insists that it is a family channel.
        However, now, in the midst of a financial crisis, raising prices by 33 percent is more than convincing proof that Disney is a cash cow/money tree channel geared towards shareholders’ dividend payments.

  4. ShintoPlasm said on August 11, 2022 at 9:38 am

    The ultimate greed. With ads enabled, Disney is likely to make a killing so it would have made sense to offer the ad-powered service at a slightly LOWER price than the ad-free one. Instead, everyone is shafted.

  5. Anonymous said on August 11, 2022 at 9:31 am

    In the Disney executive meeting someone thought they heard “pay for ads” not “pay or ads”.

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