June 30, 2020
Despite a dearth of live sports programming, Disney reportedly is set to raise the price of subscription streaming service ESPN+ by $1 to $5.99 monthly beginning in August. The new price would equal the monthly fee for Hulu basic with advertising. The annual $49.99 fee stays the same. Existing ESPN+ subs would be grandfathered into the new price point after one year, according to The Verge, which first reported the price hike, citing sources.
Launched in 2018, ESPN+ features streaming access to 20 sports, including the PGA Tour, UFC, NBA and NFL, and ended March with 7.9 million subs.
Disney has been aggressively marketing the service bundled with Hulu and Disney+ for $12.99 — a move research firm eMarketer contends will drive ESPN+ subs to 15 million by the end of the year. Disney is also offering standalone ESPN+ subs access to Hulu and Disney+ for $9.99 monthly.
eMarketer contends 36.5 million people in the country will watch live sports digitally this year (when they resume) — including 23.7% watching via digital channels.