According to The Verge, which claims to have viewed internal documents, the price increase of a dollar will only impact the monthly subscription while the annual US$49.99 cost will remain unchanged.
Existing monthly subscribers will keep the US$4.99 fee through to August 2021 before being upped. New subscribers from August will pay US$5.99 per month.
The increase of a dollar brings the price of ESPN+ on a par with Hulu’s basic ad-supported tier and closer to the US$6.99 for Disney+.
However, the report noted that the US$12.99 bundle of all three streamers will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.
ESPN+, which launched in April 2018, has spent the past couple of years quietly building up its rights portfolio to include the likes of the UFC and a nine-year deal for golf’s PGA tour believed to be worth US$680 million. The streamer however lacks the US’s major sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL or MLB.
In spite of that, ESPN+ has hugely benefited from Disney’s triple-service bundle. As of Q2 2020, it had a total of 7.9 million subscribers – up from 2.2 million a year earlier – and an ARPU of US$4.24.
The timing of this announcement may be a hard pill to swallow for many subscribers, with most sports in the US still yet to resume.
It is however the first price increase seen by a Disney streaming product since the launch of Disney+ in November 2019 and the first major news for the sports streamer since the departure of the company’s D2C boss Kevin Mayer in May.
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12 August 2020 @ 17:00:01 UTC