Walt Disney's ad-free streaming services are about to get more expensive — and the media giant is also vowing to crackdown on password sharing.
Disney on Wednesday said it will boost the cost of ad-free Disney+ by $3 a month, or about 27%, to $13.99. It also plans to increase the monthly fee for ad-free Hulu by $3, or 20%, to $17.99.
The new pricing will go into effect on October 12, the company said.
The plans to boost prices and dissuade users from sharing passwords come as streaming networks are witnessing a slowdown in subscriber growth. In the case of Disney+, the service shed about 300,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada since April, the company said in its earnings report on Wednesday.
Disney CEO Robert Iger said that the company is seeing stronger demand for its ad-supported streaming networks from marketers than older television and cable platforms.
"[T]he advertising marketplace for streaming is picking up," Iger said on a conference call with investors and analysts. "It's more healthy than the advertising marketplace for linear television."
He added, "We believe in the future of advertising on our streaming platforms both Disney+ and Hulu, and we're obviously trying with our pricing strategy to migrate more subs to the advertiser-supported tier."
Disney password sharing crackdown
Disney also said it plans to crack down on password sharing, although it didn't disclose details on how it plans to do so. The company is following rival Netflix in trying to stop subscribers fromto other people.
"Regarding password sharing, we already have the technical capability to monitor much of this," Iger said on the conference call. "What we don't know, of course, is as we get to work on this, how much of the password sharing as we basically eliminate it will convert to growth in [subscribers]."
Some analysts doubted whether price hikes and getting tough on password sharers can do much to lead Disney back to sustainable growth. Paul Verna, an analyst with Insider Intelligence, said in a note that the company's moves aren't likely to calm investors "anxious for clarity on the company's strategy for its streaming services and TV networks."
—With reporting by the Associated Press
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