In the less than four years since Disney launched its eponymous streaming service, the monthly price to access its storied catalog has doubled to $13.99 per month. Though streamers started out as a way to circumvent costly and predatory cable companies, it is now just as costly to have access to the entire lineup of platforms required to be a well-watched person.
Koen Pauwels, a distinguished professor of marketing, said that it was only a matter of time before this reckoning happened. He says, “At some point you will have to start raising the price or just stop making new content. The players that want to be in this for the long run have basically decided to increase prices.”
An alternative to subscription price increases has been the proliferation of ad-supported tiers. This is a return to the old model of television that Yakov Bart, an associate professor of marketing, says is likely to stick around. It costs the consumer less and makes the streamer more than even the premium access tiers. “Humans are very much creatures of habit,” Bart says. “Instead of simply dropping the service after this increase, people who may not be able to afford it will go to the ad-supported tier and still continue making money for the streaming service.”