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Disney+ announces its first price hike as subscriber numbers soar

Disney+ is raising its monthly subscription price by $1, starting on March 26, 2021. The increase brings the price of a Disney+ subscription from $7 per month to $8 per month. The annual subscription price of $70 is also going up, to $80 per year.

This is the first price increase for Disney+, and comes almost on the service’s one-year anniversary. And what a year it’s been for the brand new streaming service. Early subscriber numbers were already impressive: By April 2020, the service had grown to more than 50 million paying members. But the most recent numbers are mind-boggling, with 86.8 million accounts now active on the service — a number that Disney had initially predicted would require five years to achieve.

“Needless to say, Disney Plus has exceeded our wildest expectations,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at a company event held on December 10. “This success has bolstered our confidence in our continued acceleration toward a DTC-first business model.” DTC is an acronym for direct-to-consumer.

No official reason was given for the price increase, though many observers had predicted such a move would need to happen sooner or later. Disney+ remains less expensive than many of its major competitors including Netflix and HBO Max.

The pricing adjustment will also affect those who take advantage of the Disney Bundle, a combination of Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ services. The bundle is currently $13 per month, but will increase to $14 per month when rates go up in March.

The pandemic has obviously been a huge driver of subscriptions to streaming video services, but Disney can also take credit for creating a strong demand for its new original programming. The service’s Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian has been hugely popular, to the point that the show’s characters and spaceships have spilled-over into the world of gaming. Disney+ plans to capitalize on the success of The Mandalorian with two additional spinoff series: Ashoka and Rangers of The New Republic.

The entertainment megacompany isn’t resting on its laurels for the Marvel universe either. Disney+ plans to launch four new Marvel shows including I Am Groot, Ironheart, Armor Wars, and Secret Invasion. These are in addition to previously announced series WandaVision and Hawkeye.

No longer interested in paying for Disney+ once the price increases hit? Here’s how you can cancel your subscription.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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