Disney's Streaming Service Finally Has a Launch Date. Here's How the Cost Compares to Netflix and Hulu
Disney's streaming service has just been unveiled, and right away it's looking like a compelling alternative to Netflix or Hulu: The new video-on-demand subscription service will have a competitive price point ($6.99 per month) and tons of popular programming, including Disney originals and classics, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars movies, and all 30 seasons of The Simpsons.
The new streaming service from Disney is called Disney Plus (or Disney +), and its official launch date is scheduled for November 12, 2019.
Disney has been planning to offer a streaming competitor to Netflix at least since 2017, and at a meeting with investors on Thursday company executives released key details about Disney Plus — including how much it costs and what subscribers can watch. Disney's stock price popped in the aftermath of the Disney Plus announcement, with shares rising over 10% on Friday morning. Meanwhile, Netflix shares dropped around 4%.
Here's everything we know about Disney Plus right now:
How Much Does Disney Plus Cost vs. Netflix and Hulu?
Subscribers will have a choice of two different Disney + price plans. You can elect to pay either $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year. If you go for the annual Disney Plus subscription, it breaks down to $5.83 per month.
Disney did not say anything about the potential for Disney Plus free trials for new subscribers. But free trials are fairly standard for streaming services like HBO Go, DirecTV Now, Netflix, and Hulu, so it would be surprising if there is no Disney Plus free trial available.
Disney is launching Disney Plus at a very interesting price point. The new streaming service's price is comparable to the base Hulu plan, which received a price cut in January and now costs $5.99 per month (with advertisements). Netflix, meanwhile, recently raised prices from $10.99 to $12.99 per month for its standard subscription plan. Neither Hulu nor Netflix offers a discounted subscription rate if you pay by the year, but both do have free trials lasting 30 days for new subscribers.
So what's the best streaming deal now? Is it Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, or some other service?
To answer, you've got to factor in more than just price. Determining the best value is very subjective, based not only on how much you pay but also what you get to watch — and how happy you are with the quality and selection. Things get even more complicated when you try to compare Disney Plus and Amazon Prime, which costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year (after a 30-day free trial), but comes with two-day free shipping on most Amazon purchases in addition to Amazon Prime Video streaming.
What Can You Watch on Disney Plus vs. Hulu and Netflix?
When Disney Plus launches in November, subscribers will be able to stream "7,500 episodes of current and off-air TV shows; 25 original series and 10 original movies and specials; 400 library movie titles; and 100 recent theatrical films release," Variety reported.
The original shows streaming exclusively on Disney Plus include three spinoffs of Marvel's Avengers saga, plus original series related to the High School Musical and Monsters Inc. franchises. Disney Plus subscribers will also be able to watch nearly all Star Wars and Marvel films on-demand (including 2019's Captain Marvel), as well as classic movies from the Disney and Fox catalog such as Avatar, Aladdin, Titanic, Toy Story, The Princess Bride, and The Sound of Music. Unlimited streaming of TV series such as The Simpsons, Hannah Montana, and Malcolm in the Middle will be available to Disney Plus subscribers too.
If you're trying to compare programming on Disney Plus vs. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or other on-demand streaming services, you might start with each option's original shows and movies. They're all different, obviously: Netflix originals get the most acclaim and seem to the be most popular with viewers, what with hit series like Stranger Things and The Crown and films such as Roma. Meanwhile, Hulu originals include The Handmaid's Tale and Aidy Bryant's new comedy Shrill, and Amazon Prime subscribers get exclusively streaming of originals like Hanna, Jack Ryan, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
While you can compare prices at Disney Plus vs. Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others, it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison because each service's programming is so different. They each have some high-quality originals, as well as backlogs of shows and movies and rotating fresh content that may appeal to the people in your household — or not.
Whether the content on Netflix or Hulu is "better" than what you can stream on Disney Plus or Amazon Prime is a matter of opinion, as is the question of what's the best streaming service deal overall.
What's the Best Streaming Live TV Service?
Left out of the discussion above are live-streaming TV services such as Hulu Live, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Fubo TV. While these too are streaming services, they are more comparable to traditional cable or satellite TV packages, because they let subscribers watch TV channels live online — whereas Disney Plus, Netflix, and others focus on on-demand streaming.
Nonetheless, because cord cutters who have dumped cable tend to consider a wide variety of streaming options and may subscribe to more than one service simultaneously, here's a rundown of live-streaming TV prices. The prices listed below are for each service's base plan, which includes live-streaming of at least a couple dozen channels, as well as some on-demand streaming:
• DirecTV Now: From $50 per month for 60+ channels (including HBO at no extra charge) after free trial
• Fubo TV: From $40 per month after free trial
• Hulu Live: From $45 per month for 50+ channels after free trial
• Sling TV: From $25 per month for 30+ channels after free trial
• Philo TV: From $16 per month for 44 channels after free trial
• PlayStation Vue: From $45 per month for 50+ channels after free trial
• YouTube TV: From $50 per month for 60+ channels after free trial
We’ve included affiliate links into this article. Click here to learn what those are.