Price changes seem to be the only constant for streaming services in 2022.
Four major streamers have already raised prices on monthly subscriptions so far this year, and Disney+ is set to do so next month. On the other hand, the two buzziest platforms — Netflix and Disney+ — are launching lower-priced ad-supported tiers that should at least provide some relief to consumers who are being stretched to the limits by inflation.
It can be hard to keep up up with so many changes, so here’s where the major streaming services stand on pricing this fall:
•$6.99 a month for basic with commercials
• $9.99 basic without ads
• $15.49 standard without ads
• $19.99 premium without ads
What to know: Netflix
is adding a less expensive, ad-supported tier starting at noon today. Subscribers who choose that plan will see four to five minutes of commercials per hour, with each running about 15 seconds or 30 seconds, before and during content. However, Netflix executives say 5% to 10% of its library will be unavailable on the ad tier due to licensing issues; it’s unclear yet exactly what shows or movies that might affect, so stay tuned. The ad tier will also have lower-quality video, at 720p, and downloading will not be available.
Subscribers who do not want commercials can keep their current plans and remain ad-free. Prices for the basic, standard and premium plans last rose by $1 to $2 in March.
Basic allows streaming and downloads to one device at a time in HD; standard (the most popular level) allows two devices at a time, in Full HD; and premium allows four devices at a time, in Ultra HD.
• $7.99 a month
What to know: Enjoy that price while you can — Disney
is raising its monthly fee on Dec. 8 for subscribers who want to keep their commercial-free plans. Its new ad-supported tier launching that same day will cost $7.99 a month, while the premium, commercial-free level will jump to $10.99 a month, and the annual plan will rise to $109.99. The new ad-supported tier will feature about four minutes of commercials an hour, in 15- and 30-second spots.
• $7.99 a month for basic with ads
• $14.99 with no ads
What to know: Hulu raised its prices by $1 to $2 in October. Hulu has offered an ad-supported plan for years, but it’s notoriously buggy, with occasional freezing and skipping being the most common problems.
Amazon’s Prime Video
• $14.99 a month
What to know: There’s no ad-supported plan. Monthly prices last rose by $2 a month in February, with the annual plan rising by $20 to $139 a year. On the bright side, Prime membership includes shipping perks, and Amazon
recently expanded its library of ad-free songs and podcasts for subscribers.
• $9.99 a month with ads
• $14.99 with no ads
What to know: HBO Max launched its ad-supported plan in 2021 and has not raised prices this year, but don’t expect that to last through 2023. Newly formed corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery
will merge HBO Max with Discovery+ (currently $4.99 or $6.99 a month) next summer — so expect prices to rise then, if not sooner. The ad-supported tier has about four minutes of commercials per hour and is generally regarded as fairly viewer-friendly.
There are also cost-saving annual plans: $99.99 a year with ads, and $149.99 a year with no ads.
• $6.99 a month
What to know: There’s no ad-supported option. Apple TV+ raised its price by $2 a month in October, along with its other subscription services, like Apple Music and Apple One. Apple
cited its growing selection of shows and movies as the reason for the price hike … which is true, but it’s also likely due to its expensive investments in live sports, like Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer — and potentially NFL football.
• $4.99 a month with ads, but not live CBS
• $9.99 with no ads, and with live local CBS
What to know: Paramount
recently dropped its mid-tier “limited commercials” plan. It also introduced a pricier bundle with Showtime: $11.99 a month with ads, $14.99 a month with no ads. There are also cost-saving annual plans: $49 (with ads) and $99 (no ads), or $119.99 (ads plus Showtime) and $149.99 a year (no ads plus Showtime).
• Free basic level
• $4.99 a month with ads
• $9.99 a month with no ads
What to know: Prices have remained stable since its launch in 2020. The free tier has ads and lacks Peacock’s full library of shows and movies. The tiers with ads run about five minutes of commercials an hour. The service also notes that due to licensing deals, a small amount of programming, such as live events, have commercials even on the ad-free tier. Comcast
and Cox cable subscribers currently get Peacock Premium (with ads) for free, but those offers reportedly may end as soon as January.
• $4.99 a month with ads
• $6.99 with no ads
What to know: Prices have stayed flat, but as mentioned above, Discovery+ will merge with HBO Max next summer, so expect a price hike for the combined service.