Friday, July 3, 2020

ESPN+ getting a subscription fee hike in August

ESPN Plus is getting a $1 price hike in August to $5.99 a month, making the baseline price for Disney’s sports streaming app the same as Hulu’s basic tier. 
ESPN Plus launched in April 2018, carrying an assortment of college games and various sports leagues, albeit none of the big ones like NFL or NBA games. ESPN Plus has also carried UFC title matches, which have performed well for the company. The app is housed in Disney’s main ESPN app.
Disney Plus bundle: Combining Disney Plus with ad-free Hulu and ...

Like Disney Plus and Hulu, ESPN Plus is a core pillar of Disney’s streaming strategy. The app had 2.2 million subscribers in March 2019, but that number grew to 7.9 million by March 2020. The growth came after Disney launched a $12.99-a-month bundle that included ESPN Plus, Hulu, and Disney Plus. The bundle price will not be affected by the ESPN Plus monthly price hike, either.

Disney’s executive chairman Bob Iger told Ringer’s Bill Simmons last year that while ESPN Plus is a good add-on strategy for people who already pay for ESPN, and it’s “growing nicely,” the actual service is still “relatively small.” At the time, Iger said because the traditional ESPN network via linear pay TV was “still delivering a fair amount of profitability to ESPN,” making the pivot to a streaming-exclusive world was difficult. Not to mention that pivoting to a streaming-exclusive strategy would require agreements with various sports leagues, who are still firmly in the land of pay TV.
It’s unclear why Disney is hiking the price up now, especially considering sports are still largely not being played. The NBA and MLB are set to return in the coming days and weeks, but it’s unclear if any of those games will stream on ESPN Plus.

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