Over the summer, Disney yanked a dozen originals from its platform in an attempt to shave $1.8 billion from its current budget and put towards more profitable content later. Some of those titles are now popping up on other paid platforms like Apple, Vudu and Amazon, according to The Wrap.
The Disney Original movie Crater, for example, is now available on Amazon Prime Video to rent for $3.99 or purchase for $19.99. Other titles include Artemis Fowl, Better Nate Than Ever, the 2022 remake of Cheaper by the Dozen, Flora & Ulysses, Stargirl and its sequel, Hollywood Stargirl, The One and Only Ivan, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, and Wolfgang. On Prime Video, these movies are also available for $3.99 to rent or $19.99 to buy.
Customers wanting to watch one of these titles might balk at having to now pay for content that was once free with a subscription on Disney+.
Despite its popularity, Disney’s streaming services haven’t been making money. CEO Bob Iger has a number of goals to achieve in less than a year for skeptical investors to see a return. In addition to culling more than 100 titles from its app this year alone, Iger plans to entice customers with a Hulu/Disney+ bundle and potentially sell off its India assets.
In August, the media giant reported an operating loss for its streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN — as well as a dip in subscribers across a few of its services. To help staunch its bleeding bottom line, Disney is hiking prices on its services. Disney+ Premium will go up $3 to $13.99 a month. Hulu without ads will also increase by $3 to $17.99, and ESPN+ tacks on an extra $1 to $10.99 a month. In addition, Hulu with Live TV with ads will cost $76.99 a month, while the ad-free version will cost $89.99 each month — a $7 a month increase for both plans. These price changes go into effect on Thursday October 12.
The company also plans to take a page from Netflix’s playbook and crack down on password sharing next year. The move could yield a boom in signups like it did for Netflix, or Disney could lose more customers.
Disney is just one of many struggling streaming services. Peacock and Paramount+ have raised prices from $9.99 to $11.99, a Netflix subscription now costs up to $15.49 a month, and Max comes in at the most expensive, costing $15.99 a month. As inflation climbs, more households are looking for ways to curb spending. Over the last few years, monthly spending on streaming subscriptions has declined 25% from $90 in 2021 to $73 in 2023, according to data from Parks Associates.
In a time of economic uncertainty, companies face a nearly impossible balancing act of staying profitable while retaining increasingly budget-minded customers.
Disney wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Image credit: Disney