Many existing subscribers of Disney+ in the UK, who joined the service when it first launched two years ago, are getting notified about an upcoming price increase, and are taking to social media to protest.
The increase, however, was in the cards for a while, and is now putting early adopters of Disney+ in line with what newer subscribers are already paying.
But it appears the notification email from Disney+ did not do a very good job of explaining what’s going on – so some subscribers are confused, while others are just angry about the £20/year price hike.
Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted last week, at Disney’s earnings call, that the price of Disney+ may go up yet again in the future.
But for now, here’s everything you need to know about the price increase that some longtime existing subscribers are facing.
In February 2021, the cost of Disney+ in the UK jumped up from £5.99/month to £7.99/month and from £59.99/year to £79.90/year.
The price increase was announced along with the launch of Star, on February 23, 2021.
Star brought with it hundreds of additional general entertainment TV shows and films, including some big names, such as The Walking Dead, and Grey’s Anatomy, which moved over from the Disney-owned Fox channel that shut down last year.
At the time, existing subscribers were allowed to keep their original subscription costs, but only for a limited time – until August 23, 2021.
Monthly subscribers were switched to the new price point right after August 23.
But annual subscriptions went up only at the point of renewal – if it was AFTER August 23.
So why are many people only learning about this Disney+ price increase now?
That’s because Disney+ launched in the UK in March 2020, and many people subscribed right at the beginning.
Therefore, their annual billing cycles end near March – so the price increase is “meeting” them now.
So If you’re an annual subscriber who last paid £59.99 for a year, your upcoming renewal will cost £79.90 for a full year. That may be in March, or it may happen at any point from now until next August – depending on when you last renewed your annual subscription.
And remember – if you’re already paying the higher price, or if you’re a new subscriber, nothing is changing for you.
Today (Monday), Disney+ started sending e-mails to all those February / March 2020 subscribers whose prices are going up now. So those people were not happy.
— CABBAC 🎮🎬🖥️ (@OfficialCABBAC) February 14, 2022
Of course, a price hike is never good news – even if most current Disney+ customers in the UK are already on it.
— L. (@jones_1_L) February 14, 2022
Disney+ Pricing VS. The Competition In The UK
With the very first Disney+ subscribers now joining the crowds paying the higher subscription costs, it’s worth taking a look at how the other major subscription services in the UK compare to Disney’s popular service.
Netflix, the leading streaming service in the UK (in terms of subscriber numbers), offers three pricing tiers (it recently raised its prices in the US, but no UK increase has been announced, at least so far).
The Basic Plan, which only gives you SD content, costs £5.99/month, The Standard Plan (with HD content and 2 screens at the same time) is £9.99/month, and The Premium Plan (With 4K content and 4 screens) is £13.99/month.
Amazon Prime Video costs £5.99/month (or £79/year if you get the full Amazon Prime membership), and includes 4K streaming, so it’s cheaper than Disney+ (Amazon also recently announced a Prime price hike in the US – but not in the UK, at least for now).
NOW (formerly known as NOW TV), offers separate plans for films, TV shows, and sports. At £9.99/month for the TV package (that includes kids content) and £9.99/month for the Cinema membership, it’s by far the most expensive UK streaming service when you combine the two.
Plus, NOW doesn’t offer any 4K content, and even just for Full HD (1080p) you need to pay an additional £5/month for NOW Boost, which also removes adverts (yes, you get advert breaks on NOW, unless you pay for Boost).
Apple TV+ costs £4.99/month, and while it used to be free for a whole year, for those who purchased a new Apple device, the free trial is now for 3 months and not a full year.
In terms of content hours, Disney+ is still behind Netflix and Prime Video: a recent Ofcom report revealed that in the first quarter of 2021, Amazon Prime Video had 41,000+ hours of content, and Netflix had 38,000+ hours.
Disney+ had only 4,000 hours of content in 2020, before the addition of Star – and in 2021, with Star, content hours more than doubled to 9,000+, with those numbers growing every month, so they’re catching up – but slowly.