The price hike is simply being utilized to ESPN Plus’ monthly fee, in accordance to inside paperwork considered by The Verge. The annual price of $49.99 will stay untouched. Existing month-to-month subscribers can hold the $4.99 subscription charge for a interval of 1 yr earlier than being switched to the $5.99 price level, paperwork present. Disney declined to remark to The Verge.
ESPN Plus launched in April 2018, carrying an assortment of school video games and numerous sports activities leagues, albeit none of the large ones like NFL or NBA video games. ESPN Plus has additionally carried UFC title matches, which have carried out nicely for the firm. The app is housed in Disney’s major ESPN app.
Like Disney Plus and Hulu, ESPN Plus is a core pillar of Disney’s streaming technique. The app had 2.2 million subscribers in March 2019, however that quantity grew to 7.9 million by March 2020. The progress got here after Disney launched a $12.99-a-month bundle that included ESPN Plus, Hulu, and Disney Plus. The bundle price won’t be affected by the ESPN Plus month-to-month price hike, both.
Disney’s govt chairman Bob Iger told Ringer’s Bill Simmons last year that whereas ESPN Plus is an effective add-on technique for individuals who already pay for ESPN, and it’s “growing nicely,” the precise service continues to be “relatively small.” At the time, Iger stated as a result of the conventional ESPN community by way of linear pay TV was “still delivering a fair amount of profitability to ESPN,” making the pivot to a streaming-exclusive world was tough. Not to point out that pivoting to a streaming-exclusive technique would require agreements with numerous sports activities leagues, who’re nonetheless firmly in the land of pay TV.
It’s unclear why Disney is mountaineering the price up now, particularly contemplating sports activities are nonetheless largely not being performed. The NBA and MLB are set to return in the coming days and weeks, however it’s unclear if any of these video games will stream on ESPN Plus.