Hulu will increase the price of its Hulu with Live TV service by 20 percent on December 18th, setting the new subscription rate at $54.99 a month, up from $44.99.
Both new and existing customers will be affected by the increase. New subscribers as of December 18th will be served the $55-a-month price tag, while existing subscribers will see the changes in their following bill cycle. This is the second time Hulu has increased the price for the bundle in less than a year; it previously increased the package from $40 to $45 a month in January. A blog post published by the company today acknowledges that “price changes are never easy to stomach.”
“We know that many people don’t watch live television year-round, so we’ve made it easy for Hulu subscribers to switch back and forth between our plans to best suit their needs,” the blog post reads.
Competition in the live TV space is getting tougher. Sony announced at the end of October that it was shutting down its PlayStation Vue service, in part because “the highly competitive Pay TV industry, with expensive content and network deals, has been slower to change than we expected.” Other services, including YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now), have also increased their prices to compete. YouTube TV raised its prices in April to $50 a month, while AT&T TV Now jumped twice this year. The basic cost of AT&T TV Now is $65 a month, instead of $50.
Hulu is “actively exploring ways to provide additional, more tailored live TV options to you in the future,” according to the blog post. The goal is to give customers “even more choice and control over their live viewing experience.” That sounds like Hulu is exploring smaller bundle options (instead of the 60-plus channels customers currently get) and possibly at a lower cost.
Giving customers fewer channels is a facet of the industry going forward that Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, Hulu’s parent company, sees as likely. Iger told investors during the company’s most recent earnings call, “I happen to believe long-term that people will be interested in less channels.”
“It doesn’t mean that they don’t subscribe at all to multichannel services,” Iger said. “But I think the trend will be in the direction of fewer channels rather than as many, or certainly more.”
The news comes just a few days after Disney launched its crown jewel streaming service, Disney+. The streaming service is available for $6.99 a month or as a bundle with ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu for $12.99 a month.