In what will be its second price hike in 2019, Hulu is upping the monthly subscription cost of its live streaming service, Hulu + Live TV, by an extra $10 per month. This brings the starting price of a membership to $55 per month as of December 18. The prices of the regular Hulu on-demand service (ad-supported and premium) are unchanged.
The move comes less than one month after Sony announced it would terminate its PlayStation Vue live TV streaming service in January 2020, citing the high costs of providing content.
Hulu’s rationale for the price hike uses different language, however, saying in a news release that “the new price better reflects the substantial value of Hulu + Live TV, and allows us to continue offering all of the popular live news, sports, and entertainment programming included in the plan. “Perhaps with one less competitor to contend with, Hulu feels it can justify a higher price for its offering.
It’s also possible that Hulu, which is entirely controlled — and majority-owned — by Disney, is being used to shore up losses that the company might have incurred to get Disney+ off the ground.
Justified or not, the price hike continues to push the cost of so-called cord-cutting options ever higher. Even with a recently offered bundle price that lets you combine Hulu + Live TV with ESPN+ and Disney+ for $52 per month — which will rise to $62 per month once the price hike kicks in — we’re creeping ever closer to prices we’re used to seeing from cable and satellite companies.
Nonetheless, Hulu + Live TV remains a compelling live TV product. With more than 60 channels, included DVR functionality, and access to the entire on-demand and ad-free library of the regular Hulu service, there’s a lot of value for those who want a close-to-cable substitute.
If you’re a Hulu + Live TV subscriber now looking for cheaper alternatives, you certainly have options. YouTube TV is currently more expensive at $50 per month but will be less expensive after December 18. Sling TV, even with its combined Orange + Blue package, is only $40 per month.
You may also be tempted to switch to FuboTV. That service isn’t any cheaper than the upcoming price of Hulu + Live TV plan at $55 per month, but if you’re a sports fan, it has a huge range of options — everything except ESPN (a Disney property).