The New Disney+ TV Bundle Is Your Best Streaming Deal
At $12.99, it’s really three channels in one and a worthy Netflix competitor
If you’re thinking about finally cutting the cord on cable, or just adding to your existing TV plan, yesterday’s announcement by Disney was great news.
A bundle of three streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — will cost $12.99 starting on November 12th, according to a report by The Verge.
That number doesn’t come randomly. Amazon Prime Video is also $12.99 per month or $119 per year (and obviously includes all the non-viewing Prime benefits) and Netflix is $8.99-$15.99 per month, with most viewers choosing the $12.99 option.
As well, Disney’s plan is decidedly less than HBO Max’s $17 or so bundle. HBO GO (aka HBO sans cable) is $14.99 per month. NBCUniversal’s upcoming streamer does not have a price, although it could be ad-supported and free for those who keep their regular TV/cable access, with a $10 or so charge for cord cutters. (Apple’s upcoming streaming service has not announced its pricing yet.)
On its own, Disney+ was expected to cost $6.99/month or $69.99/year, and Hulu plans usually start at $5.99 (with ads) while ESPN+ is $4.99. So besides saving $5/month, you’re pretty much getting three worthy streamers for the cost of Netflix, all with original content and unique POVs.
Disney+ will be the home to all things classic Disney, as well as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. There will be an abundance of Marvel Cinematic Universe TV shows, a new Star Wars series called The Mandalorian and access to several well-known Disney titles that were previously only available for purchase for limited time periods.
Hulu — a service this writer has been using more frequently — is far less robust than Netflix but has certainly developed its share of solid originals (The Handmaid’s Tale, Runaways, PEN15), repurposed shows from channels like FX and a smattering of movies, along with a surprisingly robust level of British programming that I’ve never found anywhere else (shame, BBC America). It’s also the place you’re going to find programming targeting adults, unlike the PG-ish Disney+.
ESPN+ is relatively new, but it seems to be a priority for the sports channel. Besides making a lot of the brand’s longform written content hidden behind the $4.99 paywall, the streaming side of the service carries MLB, NHL and MLS games, plus tennis, boxing, golf, UFC, college sports and ESPN Films product. It is not a replacement for ESPN, but more like an add-on that’s particularly good if you like a more obscure sport than, say, the NFL.
Whatever you decide with streaming, you’re pretty likely to choose something … and probably leave cable behind. According to the research firm eMarketer, households cutting the cord from cable is expected to increase by 19.2 percent this year, and the number of households without pay TV will hit 56.1 million by 2023.
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