Streaming Price Rises are changing the landscape
Death. Taxes. All your streaming services getting a little more expensive all the time. These are the new certainties in life, it seems.
In recent years, as the streaming TV and movie business has gotten more competitive and companies around Hollywood have thrown billions into building their own platforms and libraries in order to compete with Netflix, participating in the streaming era has gotten steadily more expensive. Netflix has raised the cost of its subscription multiple times since its launch. Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus have all gotten more expensive as Disney has invested more in streaming. Paramount Plus, Peacock, Shudder, Starz — practically any service you can name — charges more per month than it did a few years ago. Even as many of these services add ads to their platforms, they’re still charging more.
What’s behind all this wallet-raiding? A confluence of things. As more customers cancel cable, more quickly than anyone expected, the studios and distributors are looking for a way to make up the lost revenue. Good shows and movies are more in demand — and thus more expensive — than ever. And after a decade of spending money like it was going out of style because all investors cared about were subscriber numbers, Hollywood players of all sizes have found themselves needing to actually make money to stay in business.
Companies are looking for any way they can to improve their bottom line. They’re cracking down on password sharing, canceling shows for the tax breaks, and even selling their prized content to other platforms. But the most common strategy is simply to charge you, the viewer, more. A dollar here, two dollars there. Add it all up, and the golden era of TV suddenly has a pretty startling ticket price.
We’re tracking all the price increases and other changes from streaming services so you can make sure you’re only paying for what you want. (We’ll also include discounts and deals, though those seem to happen less and less.)
When HBO Max transformed into Max back in May, Warner Bros. Discovery said that existing subscribers on the ad-free plan would be able to hang onto certain perks (like 4K streaming) for at least the next six months without needing to spend more money. Well, we’re about to hit that six-month mark, and right on cue, the party’s over. That’s all, folks.
Max is emailing affected customers, letting them know that while their monthly price of $15.99 will remain the same moving forward, they’ll be losing a couple of perks on or after December 5th.
There was a moment, in 2019, when streaming services were one heck of a deal. Apple TV Plus was free if you bought any kind of Apple device; you could get Disney Plus for $4 per month and lock that price in for three years; Hulu lowered its price to stay competitive; and you could share your Netflix account with as many friends, family members, roommates, and exes as you liked.
Those days are now far behind us. This year alone, all of the major names in streaming — Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Max, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, and Peacock — have raised their prices. Netflix’s most expensive plan has officially crossed the $20 threshold, and other services are steadily headed in that direction. The price of streaming is at an all-time high.
Apple is raising the prices of several of its services, including Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, and Apple One. Apple TV Plus is going from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month, and Apple’s other services are seeing significant hikes, too. MacRumors first spotted the changes.
Instead of $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade will now cost $6.99 per month. Meanwhile, Apple News Plus is increasing from $9.99 per month to $12.99 per month. With all three services getting price increases, that means the Apple One bundle is going up as well.
Netflix is getting another price increase. As part of the streamer’s third quarter earnings results, Netflix announced that starting today, users on its $9.99 per month Basic plan will now have to pay $11.99, and those paying $19.99 per month for Premium will have to pay $22.99. Netflix’s $6.99 ad-supported plan and $15.49 Standard tier will stay the same price.
Netflix last raised its prices in January 2022 and it closed off access to the $9.99 Basic ad-free plan to new and relapsed users in July, forcing everyone to fork out more even if they only want to avoid ads.
Enjoying Starfield on GeForce Now, where the cloud gaming service is one of the best ways to play? Starting November 1st, it’ll cost you $6 more in Canada, £2 more in the UK, or an additional €2 in Europe per month for the must-have Ultimate plan. Six-month plans are going up by $20 CAD, £10, and €10, respectively.
Nvidia spokesperson Jordan Dodge tells me the United States is currently exempt from the price changes. “No price change happening in the US,” he says.
The monthly price of ad-free Discovery Plus is jumping up in cost from $6.99 per month to $8.99 per month (plus taxes), Warner Bros. Discovery announced on Tuesday. The new price is effective Tuesday, meaning that if you’re already a subscriber, you’ll see the higher price on your “next billing cycle on or after November 2,” the company says. The streaming service’s “ad-lite” tier will stay the same price, meaning you can still get it for $4.99 per month.
Discovery Plus gives you access to more than 70,000 episodes of shows from networks like TLC, HGTV, Discovery, and Lifetime, meaning it’s a great choice for people looking to watch reality shows and unscripted series. Just read my colleague Emma Roth’s article about why she pays for Discovery Plus to get an idea of what’s on offer. And since you can’t get all Discovery Plus content on Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s other streaming service, there’s still a reason to pay for the now-more-expensive price for the Discovery-focused subscription.