Every Streamer That Raised Prices in 2023 (So Far)

Every Streamer That Raised Prices in 2023 (So Far)

Streaming video is not the bulletproof business the industry once hoped, leaving companies to take drastic steps to stay afloat in this newfound reality. The ads have arrived, some content has left, and the stress of reaching profitability is being passed on to the consumer via price increases.

By our tally, six streamers have raised prices — so far — in 2023. If we looked back a full 12 months, it’d be double digits.

Rates for all three services that make up the Disney Bundle — Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu — increased in the second half of 2022. Disney+ just missed our cutoff with a price increase on December 8, 2022, when its ad-supported tier launched in the U.S. And you don’t have to read too much between Bob Iger’s lines lately to know Disney+ prices will being going up again — and soon.

Apple TV+ increased prices in October 2022. Find the half-dozen streamers that raised prices in 2023 below, in chronological order.

HBO Max

Before Max, HBO Max in January raised its rates on the ad-free tier by $1 to $15.99 per month. The extra dollar was “to invest in providing even more culture-defining programming and improving our customer experience for all users,” according to a company statement. Before the price hike, HBO Max mostly made headlines for removing content for tax purposes.

Max launched May 23 at the same (new) rate. The service, built from the ground up, includes most Discovery+ programming; Discovery+ is still available as a standalone service.

Warner Bros. Discovery turned a surprise streaming profit in first quarter of 2023, but lost money in Q2. It also lost subscribers in the June quarter; as of June 30, the new tally is 95.8 million.

Paramount+

The way Paramount+ sees it, Showtime is worth about a buck a month. We’ll show our work.

In June, Paramount Global raised rates for its core streaming service. The ad-supported tier went from $4.99 to $5.99. The ad-free option, which now includes Showtime, rose from $9.99 to $11.99.

(+$2)-(+$1) = $1.

The move didn’t come cheaply for Paramount, which recognized a $1.674 billion programming charge in the first quarter due in large part to the merger. Showtime’s own standalone OTT service is shutting down; the linear channel may soon follow.

Paramount Global ended the March quarter with more than 77 million streaming subs; nearly 56 million of those from Paramount+. The company will report its April-to-June results on Monday.

Starz

Starz has got some nerve: The home of “Outlander” increased pricing by $1/month at a time when parent Lionsgate is trying to separate the channel from the studio. The original plan was to sell Starz, but there were no takers so Lionsgate pivoted to Plan B: Sell the studio.

There have also been, ah, no takers on that plan thus far. And it looks like Lionsgate is about to buy eOne (save brands like PJ Masks and Peppa Pig) from toymaker Hasbro, so make of that what you will.

Starz, which Lionsgate claims is profitable, ended March with 27.8 million subscribers. Almost 18 million of those were from streaming. Lionsgate will report results for the June quarter on August 9.

Caitriona Balfe in Season 7 of “Outlander”Robert Wilson

Shudder

On August 29, AMC Networks will raise the price of the horror-streamer in the U.S. and Canada. Out is $6.99/month, In is $7.99/month. Scary stuff. ::Shudder::

AMC Networks had a combined 11.5 million subscribers as of March 31 across its various streaming networks: AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, and HIDIVE.

Wall Street wisdom now suggests AMC Networks make like Lionsgate and separate AMC Studios from the rest of its holdings, which linearly includes AMC, BBC AMERICA (a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films, RLJE Films, and the company’s international business.

AMC Networks will report its second-quarter financial results on Friday.

Peacock

Last month, Peacock raised its rates for the first time since launching in 2020. In early 2023, it scrapped the free tier. The NBCUniversal streamer’s new pricing structure, just like the old one, exactly mirrors the Paramount+ change. (Minus the whole Showtime thing, but you do get WWE Network!)

Peacock Premium is now $5.99/month; “Premium Plus” is $11.99. The vast majority of Peacock subscribers, which these days tally 24 million, choose the cheaper tier.

The service is absolutely hemorrhaging money nand management expects it will lose $3 billion this year. That ain’t “Bupkis.”

BritBox

The British are coming — with a price hike. BritBox, created by the BBC and ITV for us Yanks to watch their dramas and (dry) comedies, just raised its monthly rate from $7.99 to $8.99. If that feels like a lot, well, import tax.

BritBox has roughly 3 million subscribers.

Netflix

OK, so Netflix didn’t actually raise prices this year (and management has been bragging over not raises rates for most users in the past 12 months), though it kind of accomplished the same thing through the elimination of its cheapest ad-free option. And guess who predicted exactly that would happen?

It all makes sense when you consider that the ARM (average revenue per member) for subscribers on the $6.99 ad-supported tier is actually higher than the $15.49 one now has to pay at minimum for commercial-free Netflix.

The standard with ads plan is still nascent and accounts for just a fraction of Netflix’s 238.39 million overall subs (as of the end of June.)