Disney+ price increase: how to prepare and save money

Disney+ is increasing prices in the UK this November – so act now if you don’t want the priciest plan

It seems there isn’t a day that goes by without a streaming service increasing its price. Netflix has removed its basic tier and cracked down on password sharing, while Spotify recently hiked up its prices. 

The latest to add to this list is Disney+. The service, which launched in the UK in March 2020, has announced a new pricing structure for UK streamers, which will be introduced from November 1.

This will see current customers’ monthly fees increase automatically from £7.99 to £10.99 unless they choose to move to one of two cheaper pricing plans, or cancel their subscription. 

Someone with a remote control using disney+ streaming serviceCredit: Shutterstock/Ivan Marc
Disney+ will be increasing prices from November 1 this year

Niki Hutchison, a business and marketing expert, believes the hike could be a risky strategy for Disney. 

“By raising prices, you can price yourself out of the market completely,” she told Saga Exceptional. 

“We’ve all ruled out certain brands as being ‘out of reach’. Raising prices without explanation can also feel like exploitation and erode consumer goodwill and trust. Just look at how we feel about energy prices right now in the UK.” 

Why is the price going up?

Disney has made a big net loss

Disney recently announced a net loss of £360m – a sharp decline from the £1.1bn profit it made during the same period a year ago. The company blamed the loss on a number of factors, including increased competition from other streaming services, higher production costs, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While Disney+ continued to grow, the company’s other streaming businesses, Hulu and ESPN+, saw slower growth. The pandemic also had a negative impact on Disney’s third-quarter results. The company’s theme parks were closed for much of the quarter and its cruise ships were also affected. 

Signs above a road showing Walt Disney WorldCredit: Shutterstock/VIAVAL TOURS
The pandemic has affected Disney’s profits, especially as the theme parks had to close for long periods of time

One other reason Disney is raising the prices is to ensure its product is able to produce quality shows and movies, especially thanks to higher production costs. This is one reason Hutchison believes that Disney+ will continue to be a success. 

She says: “Raising your prices can help to establish you as a leader in your niche. Potential customers will often make assumptions that what you offer is higher quality, more in demand or even that you are more trustworthy than your competitors – all based on your higher price.” 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he was also “confident” about the company’s future, revealing that Disney+ was on track to reach 230-260 million subscribers by the end of 2024. 

What are the new subscription options?

Here’s what you’ll pay from November

Currently there is just one subscription option – £7.99 – but from November 1, there will be three options for subscribers.  

There is also a rumour that like Netflix, it will crackdown on password sharing, but there’s been no official announcement on how it will do that.

Disney+ Premium 

Disney+ Premium is the current plan that everyone is on right now. From November, this will cost £10.99 but up to four people can stream at once, so it is a good option for larger households. This more expensive option will also allow you to stream in up to 4K UHD & HDR and have Dolby Atmos sound. You’ll also be able to download shows and films. 

Disney+ Standard 

The new standard option comes in at £7.99. However, you’ll be able to use it only on two devices at once – down from the current four. You won’t have the high standard audio/visual options either, with only the ability to stream in full HD, 1080p or 5.1 and stereo. You will, however, still be able to download your favourite movies and shows. 

Someone watching Disney+ on a TV and a mobile phoneCredit: Shutterstock/Miguel Lagoa
Both Standard and Standard with ads subscriptions will allow you to stream Disney+ on two devices

Disney+ Standard with ads 

Following the successful launch of its ad-supported plan in the United States, Disney+ is bringing this to the UK. This plan will cost £4.99 per month, which is £3 cheaper than the standard ad-free plan. It will offer the same content as the ad-free plan, but with ads.

These will be limited to four minutes per hour and will be skippable after five seconds. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a more affordable way to subscribe and don’t mind watching the adverts.  

As with the standard plan, you can stream from two devices. However, this plan won’t allow you to download anything, so if you like watching stuff offline, this won’t work for you.  

How can I save money on Disney+?

Act now to save cash

The first way to save money is to act now. Existing subscribers will be automatically switched to the Disney+ Premium plan come November 1, unless they choose to switch to a different plan. You will stay on the existing price of £7.99 but only until December 6. If you want either of the other two plans, you need to inform Disney of this. So the sooner you do it, the better. 

For author Josie Dom, the price hike means she’ll be cancelling her subscription.  

“Just yesterday, my teenage daughter told me she’s happy to cancel our Disney+ subscription as she’s now ‘watched everything she wanted to see’,” she says.  

“It’s definitely come at the right time with this news.” 

Alternatively, if you want to keep to the standard or premium plan, there is an option to pay yearly. For the standard service this is £79.90, working out at £6.66 a month, while the premium service comes in at £109.90, which is around £9.15 a month, saving you just under two pounds a month. 

“I haven’t watched everything I want to see yet on Disney+ and some new things are coming soon, so I am pondering the cheaper option as I currently have Prime too,” says Lauren John, a copywriter from Essex. 

At just £4.99, though, the ad-based service is on a par with Netflix’s cheapest subscription offer, which is also ad-based. Crucially, the other plans from Disney+ are also cheaper than Netflix’s standard and premium plans, which are currently priced at £10.99 and £15.99. 

Alternative streaming platforms

Here’s what they cost

Mature black couple watching TV, with a remote in their handCredit: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Paramount Plus 

Cost: £6.99 a month, after a free seven-day trial. 

How to watch: On the web, through the Paramount Plus app, via Amazon Prime, Sky or NOW. It’s also accessible on Apple, Google, Roku, and Samsung platforms, too. 

Best for: Classic movies and new TV shows, such as the hugely popular Yellowstone.  

Apple TV 

Cost: £6.99 a month, after a free seven-day trial. 

If you buy an Apple device, such as a phone or watch, you can get three months for free. If you’re an Apple devotee, you can also bundle Apple TV+ with up to five other services, such as Fitness+ or iCloud+, for one lower monthly price. 

We’ve also seen subscriptions given away by retailers, such as Currys, with certain purchases. 

How to watch: You can watch Apple TV+ on all available devices, such as smart TVs, smartphones and gaming consoles. Signing up is easier on a laptop, so perhaps do that first before logging in via your chosen viewing method. 

Best for: While you can purchase popular TV shows and movies for an additional cost, Apple is focused on original programming and is the only place to watch critically-acclaimed shows such as Ted Lasso, Slow Horses and Severance. 

Netflix 

Cost: Plans range from £4.99, which is its ad-based subscription, to £15.99 a month. You’re not tied into any contract so can leave whenever you like. 

How to watch: You can watch Netflix on your smartphone, tablet, smart TV, laptop or streaming device. 

Best for: Pretty much everything. Netflix has been going for 12 years in the UK so has a huge library of the biggest blockbusters and TV shows. It also has a vast library of Netflix productions including some of its biggest hits, such as Bridgerton, Stranger Things and Squid Game. 

Amazon Prime 

Cost: Prime membership costs £8.99 per month but you can opt for an annual subscription costing £95 per year, which works out roughly at £7.92 per month. This also covers many other things such as free delivery from Amazon, an Amazon music subscription, free eBooks and other special deals. If you only want Amazon Prime Video, you can get that for £5.99 a month. There’s also the chance to trial it for 30 days for free. 

How to watch: Via the Prime Video app, you can tune into via most smart TVs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. You can also easily watch via a Fire Stick, which comes fully loaded with all the software. 

Best for: Blockbuster movies and original Amazon shows such as Jack Ryan, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and Clarkson’s Farm. 

NOW 

Cost: There are various packages for NOW. Choose from entertainment for £9.99 per month, cinema for £9.99 per month or sports for £33.99 per month. You can also buy a one-day sports membership for £11.99, which is great for those big sporting events.  

How to watch: Many smart TVs come with the app already installed, but you can also download it independently. You can also watch NOW on laptops, tablets, mobiles, set-top boxes and gaming consoles. 

Best for: Big cinema releases, Sky original series and movies and sports. It’s  slightly cheaper than Sky and you’re also not tied into any contract

ITVX Premium 

Cost: £5.99 a month, after a free seven-day trial. You can also pay £59.99 a year, which works out at £4.99 a month.  

How to watch: You can watch via smart TVs, laptops, tablets and your smartphone.  

Best for: All ITV shows and films shown on the channel, minus the ads. Plus, the service incorporates the BritBox app, which features iconic British shows such as Downton Abbey, Grange Hill and the Red Riding Trilogy, as well as original dramas and documentaries. 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Updated:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • Email