Disney Plus: price hikes, new level of advertising and everything you need to know
Disney+ has been the hit of a wave of new streaming services over the past two years, thanks in part to its vast library of exclusive shows, movies, and originals. The service has already increased its price once since its launch, and Thursday brought another hike, with a twist: The service has also introduced a second subscription level with advertising.
Here are the big details you need to know about tiers, pricing, and everything else.
How much did Disney Plus raise prices?
Previously, Disney Plus had a single subscription tier, with no ads. On Thursday, the service kicked off a new tier with ads in the US; at the same time, it increased the price of its ad-free subscriptions in the United States from $8 per month to $11. This means that if you’re already a Disney Plus subscriber and paying monthly, your next bill will be $3 more.
Annual membership is now $110, down from $80.
The US price for Disney Plus is still lower than the $15.50 monthly fee for Netflix’s most popular package in the US, which lets you stream on two different devices simultaneously in high definition. And Disney Plus allows all subscribers to stream on four devices and access 4K content at no additional cost – features Netflix charges $20 per month to unlock on its premium tier.
In 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger noted that Disney Plus’ pricing at launch would reflect “the fact that it will have significantly less volume” than its main competitor Netflix. Over the months and years, Disney Plus accumulates a larger catalog of exclusives and originals. As this happens, the general expectation is that the company will continue to push its prices higher.
How much does the new ad-supported tier cost?
The new ad-supported Disney Plus subscription costs $8 per month, which matches the price of the ad-free tier before Thursday’s rides. This means that if you want to continue streaming Disney Plus but don’t want to pay more money than you’re already paying, you’ll have to level up and start watching with ads. Otherwise, ad-free streaming on Disney Plus is now $11.
The ad-supported subscription does not offer an annual plan.
By comparing, Paramount More charges $5 for its tier with ads and $10 for the ad-free version. HBO Max is $10 per month if you watch with ads or $15 per month to remove all ads. NBCUniversal’s Peacock has a limited free tier with ads, which restricts some libraries from streaming, and it offers two full-access subscriptions: an ad-supported subscription for $5 and an ad-free one for $10.
How much does the Disney bundle with Hulu and ESPN Plus cost?
The company offers bundles that combine Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN Moreoffering a discount if you subscribe to multiple.
The launch of the ad-based Disney Plus tier changed the different bundle combinations and prices:
- $10 a month: Disney Plus and Hulu, both with ads
- $13 per month: Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus, all three with ads
- $20 a month: ad-free Disney Plus and Hulu, plus ad-supported ESPN Plus
Disney offers an additional package, but it is only available to customers who are already subscribed to it – you can no longer subscribe to it. This package combines ad-free Disney Plus with ad-supported Hulu and ad-supported ESPN Plus for $15 per month.
Does Disney Plus offer a free trial? Or other free offers?
Disney Plus no longer offers a standard free trial. It removed its one-week free trial program in June 2020.
But other offers can unlock Disney Plus for free (or at no additional cost).
For instance, Disney and Verizon have an agreement that will give certain customers on certain plans the Disney “bundle” – Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus – at no additional cost; you’re supposed to be eligible for Verizon’s premium 5G Play More, 5G Do More, and 5G Get More unlimited plans, as well as its non-5G Get More or Play More. Other Verizon plans, such as its more affordable Start and Do More plans, include six months of Disney Plus, but not the bundle. A Verizon websitehas the fine print with the terms of these offers.
When do new movies and shows come to Disney Plus?
All new titles are added to the service at midnight PT/3am ET on the day of release.
Typically, Disney Plus releases new series episodes early Wednesday mornings, and original movies tend to land early Friday mornings — but that’s not a hard and fast rule.
When will Black Panther: Wakanda Forever start streaming?
Disney hasn’t confirmed a streaming release date for the Black Panther sequel yet, but it’s reasonable to estimate that Wakanda Forever will likely start streaming sometime between late December and mid-January.
To make an educated guess on the timing of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s very helpful to look at the timeline of other Marvel movies once Disney revived the practice of theatrical exclusives.
So far this year, Marvel has released Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May and Thor: Love and Thunder in July. Although Doctor Strange took 47 days to reach Disney Plus, Thor: Love and Thunder, his latest Marvel movie, hit Disney Plus 62 days after its theatrical release. It’s closer to Marvel’s theatrical exclusives last year: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was in theaters for 70 days and Eternals was in theaters for 68 days.
If Black Panther: Wakanda Forever were to match Doctor Strange’s 47-day timeline, it would be on Disney Plus on December 28, tucked in the week after Christmas but before New Year’s Day. Every year, this week is an extremely popular time for streaming – it’s often when Netflix racks up some of its greatest hits of all time.
But if Disney opts for Black Panther theatrical exclusivity to be closer to that of its other Marvel movies, then Black Panther won’t be available to stream until mid-January or late January, or possibly later.
Disney’s timing decisions for Black Panther and other upcoming movies — the new Avatar movie and upcoming Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, to name a few — will likely depend on how much dollars the company wants to generate at the box office. relative to how much he wants to attract new streaming subscribers and keep the ones he has.
What devices support Disney Plus?
Disney supports a wide range of devices, streaming to phones, tablets, computers, connected TVs and streaming media boxes. The company has global distribution agreements with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku, Sony, Amazon, Samsung and LG. This includes manufacturers of:
- Roku boxes, sticks and TVs.
- Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.
- Phones and TVs running Android operating systems, as well as Chromecast streamers.
- Xbox One.
- PlayStation 4.
- Amazon FireTV devices.
- Samsung smart TVs.
- LG Smart TVs.
- Comcast X1 set-top boxes and Flex platforms.
What product features does the service include?
Video and audio formats: Disney Plus can stream 4K Ultra HD content in immersive Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos audio. You can see a title’s available formats in any of the Disney Plus apps by clicking on the main page for that show or movie, then clicking the “Details” tab. The app for streaming boxes, like Roku and Apple TV, is also designed to briefly flash a symbol telling you what format you’re watching; it appears in the upper right corner of the screen for a few seconds when a video starts playing.
Simultaneous streams: Each Disney Plus account can stream to four devices simultaneously and create seven user profiles for different household members. Each account can choose an avatar of a Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars character, with over 200 avatars available.
Mobile downloads: Disney Plus also offers unlimited mobile downloads for offline viewing. Subscribers can download up to 10 mobile or tablet devices, with no constraints on the number of times a title can be downloaded. The number of tracks stored simultaneously on a device depends on the storage space available on the device.
Languages and accessibility: The service supported English, Spanish, French, and Dutch at launch, including in its user interface as well as audio and subtitle support for library content. Disney Plus Originals and much of its library are available in multiple languages as audio or subtitles. The app also supports closed captioning, descriptive audio, and navigation assistance to help subscribers with disabilities. (In July, the American Council of the Blind gave Disney Plus an Award of Excellence for its specialized descriptive audio tracks describing settings and action occurring alongside a program’s dialogue.)
Parental control: Disney Plus offers parental controls in the form of child profiles. You can designate any profile to be in kid mode, which has a streamlined interface designed for younger viewers. These children’s profiles limit the library to programs rated TV-7FV and G in the United States, or equivalent ratings in other geographic markets.
Group monitoring: Disney has a group watch feature, which allows you to sync your stream of any title on Disney Plus with other accounts through the app, so you can watch a program at the same time as your friends. or your family, even if you are separated.
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