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Disney’s $12.99 streaming bundle is way too good to pass up, but it won’t ‘kill’ rivals

Published Aug 7th, 2019 7:31AM EDT
Disney Plus vs. Netflix
Image: AP/Shutterstock

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When Disney announced that its streaming service will cost just $5.99 per month once it’s available to customers in November, it became clear that Disney+ is a no-brainer subscription. Even if you’re already paying for other services, which may include Netflix, HBO, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, to name a few, Disney+ is a substantial addition to your monthly entertainment bill at that price. Disney+ will have a ton of great content sourced from all of Disney’s properties, as well as plenty of original shows that will not hit competing platforms. As an example, Disney+ is already a part of the next major phase of Marvel’s MCU, with several series in development.

But it turns out that that $5.99 monthly subscription isn’t the best that Disney can do. That’s because the company unveiled a subscription option that costs $7 extra but delivers access to Hulu and ESPN+.

If you’re already a Hulu and/or ESPN+ subscriber, which cost $5.99 (with ads) and $4.99 per month, respectively, you should already be considering moving to the $12.99 all-access monthly bundle, as the service promises great value for that price tag. This bundle might easily be a primary source of entertainment for some customers and might make others consider their relationships with Netflix, HBO, and other streaming/live TV services.

Also, if you’ve got plenty of video streaming subscriptions that you can’t pass up, you should still consider getting Disney+.

The new Disney+ bundle will make it harder for others to compete, yes, but it won’t exactly “kill” rival platforms. The HBO Max subscription is already rumored to cost around $17 per month, which seems too expensive compared to Disney’s just-announced deal. But HBO does have plenty of loyal fans, and the new service will deliver even more content than HBO Now.

Apple, meanwhile, is yet to tell us how much its Apple TV+ will cost. Apple will have a limited number of original shows at launch. But it’ll be interesting to see whether the iPhone maker will include Apple TV+ in any bundles of its own. With a more significant emphasis on services, Apple does have plenty of options to consider for bundles that could compete against Disney’s $12.99 deal.

A good example of a streaming service that Disney+ can’t kill is Amazon Prime, which includes free access to Prime Video. Amazon’s Prime membership is a great bundle of services, giving frequent Amazon shoppers access to plenty of entertainment.

Similarly, the new Disney+ bundle will also have to compete against pricier live TV services that cord-cutters seek, including Google’s YouTube TV or Sling TV, to name just a few of the options out there.

When it comes to competition between these companies, Apple and Amazon will sell Disney’s Disney+ subscriptions via their streaming platforms. So you won’t have to worry about not being able to subscribe for Disney+ packages directly on your Apple or Amazon devices.

The only bad news here concerns international customers for the time being. Disney+ will be a US-only deal for a while. Eventually, a version of this bundle might hit more markets, as Disney wants to bring both Disney+ and Hulu to other countries. International ESPN+ access might be more problematic, considering the complex licensing deals for sporting events. But that’s just speculation, as Disney hasn’t addressed any plans to expand the streaming service internationally. Netflix and Amazon, meanwhile, are available in a lot more markets, and won’t have to fear any competition from Disney+ in those countries for the time being.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.