Disney-owned Hulu Sept. 8 announced it was cutting the monthly subscription fee to ad-supported Hulu + Live TV by 29% to $49.99, effective immediately for new and returning subscribers through Oct. 11.
The move comes as Disney and the nation’s No. 2 cable operator, Charter Communications, continue their public carriage dispute that has resulted in Charter’s 14.7 million pay-TV subscribers losing access to ESPN, ABC and other Disney channels — a situation made more acute for subscribers wanting to watch college football, the NFL, and the U.S. Open tennis tournament, among other marquee events.
The Hulu + Live TV subscription provides viewers the ability to stream more than 90 TV channels, including ESPN, and others featuring live sports, national and local news and entertainment. Plus, subscribers have access to Hulu’s entire on-demand streaming content library, originals, next-day network TV shows, access to Disney+ and ESPN+, and features such as unlimited DVR.
Charter contends Disney is mandating exorbitant carriage fee price hikes at a time when legacy pay-TV continues to hemorrhage subscribers to streaming video services, including Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu and Netflix.
In a Sept. 4 statement, Charter said that this year alone it was expected to pay Disney more than $2.2 billion for “just the right to carry [branded] content,” while ignoring the ongoing impact of a softening advertising market. Commercials, along with subscription fees, is how Charter, and other pay-TV operators, pay carriage fees to content holders.
The promotion ends ahead of Disney’s previously-announced plans to increase costs for most of its direct-to-consumer services, including Hulu + Live TV. The platform with 4.7 million subscribers is upping the monthly fee for ad-supported access to $76.99, and the ad-free plan is going from $82.99 to $89.99 per month.