TV Answer Man, I heard that ESPN+ is raising its price. Is that true? Why do these streaming companies keep raising their prices? Isn’t streaming supposed to be cheaper to do? — Henry, Butte, Montana.
Henry, I’m sorry to inform you that ESPN+, the streaming edition of the sports network, will raise its monthly price on August 13 from $5.99 to $6.99. The annual price, if you decide to pay that way, will increase from $59.99 a year to $69.99 a year. (You’ll save roughly $14 over the year if you pay annually.)
The good news is that the Disney Bundle, which consists of Disney+, ESPN+ and the ad-included version of Hulu, will stay at $13.99 a month. That should tell you something about Disney’s agenda here. The company is trying to prod more people to take the bundle rather than subscribe to an individual service.
ESPN+ last raised its monthly price in August 2020 when it increased from $4.99 a month to $5.99 a month. However, the sports streamer last January hiked its annual rate from $49.99 to $59.99.
The latest ESPN+ price boost follows other fee hikes from streamers in 2021 including ones from Disney+ and Sling TV. And it’s likely more price increases are coming later in the year. While there’s a perception among some consumers (and journalists) that streaming should be cheaper, the cost of program acquisition continues to rise, forcing companies to raise subscriber rates to keep up.
This is the same reason why cable and satellite services have had to raise their prices over the last several years, and the streamers are not immune to the problem. It’s inevitable that consumers will have to pay as much, or more, for streaming than they have for the traditional pay TV services.
As The Who sang in the classic 1971 rocker, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’:
Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
Henry, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann