Hulu is reducing the price of its on-demand streaming service from $8 per month to $6 per month, while also increasing the price of its live TV streaming service from $40 per month to $45 per month. The new prices will take effect on February 26 for new subscribers, and on the next billing cycle for existing customers. Hulu’s commercial-free on-demand plan will stay put at $12 per month, and the bundle of Hulu and Spotify will still cost $13 per month, The Verge reports, effectively reducing that deal’s value.
The price hike for live TV may be a consequence of Hulu’s deal with Discovery last year, which brought five channels including Discovery, Animal Planet, and ID into the base package. Hulu was already offering channels from Scripps Networks, such as HGTV and Food Network, and Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps in early 2018 likely gave the network more leverage in getting its own channels on board.
At the same time, Hulu’s on-demand service may be feeling the squeeze from free, ad-supported services such as Pluto TV (which was just snapped up by Viacom), The Roku Channel, and Amazon’s new iMDb-branded Freedive service. The lower price is sure to bring in new subscribers–including some folks defecting from Netflix and its own price hikes–but it’s reasonable to wonder whether Hulu might increase its ad load to offset the cost, especially as it loses increasing amounts of money. (Update: For what it’s worth, a Hulu rep says the company won’t be raising its ad load to compensate for lower on-demand pricing.)