How the best streaming plan prices compare as Netflix launches a cheaper, ad-supported tier

How the best streaming plan prices compare as Netflix launches a cheaper, ad-supported tier

Pricing changes seem to be the only constant for streaming services in 2022.

Four major streamers have already raised the prices of monthly subscriptions so far this year, and Disney+ is set to do so next month. On the other hand, the two most buoyant platforms—Netflix and Disney+—are launching low-cost, ad-supported tiers that should at least provide some relief to consumers stretched to the limits by inflation.

It can be hard to keep up with so many changes, so here’s where the major streaming services stand on prices this fall:

Netflix

•$6.99 a month for basic with advertising

• $9.99 basic without ads

• $15.49 standard without ads

• $19.99 premium without ads

What you should know: Netflix NFLX,
-4.80%
is adding a more affordable, ad-supported tier starting at noon today. Subscribers who choose that plan will see four to five minutes of commercials per hour, each running about 15 seconds or 30 seconds, before and during content. However, Netflix executives say 5% to 10% of the library will be unavailable at the ad level due to licensing issues; it’s unclear yet exactly which series or movies may be affected, so stay tuned. The ad tier will also have lower quality video, at 720p, and downloads will not be available.

Subscribers who do not want advertising can keep their current plans and remain ad-free. Prices for the base, standard and premium plans last rose by $1 to $2 in March.

Also read: As subscription prices rise, here’s what’s worth streaming in November 2022: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Willow,’ ‘Mythic Quest’ and more

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Basic allows streaming and downloading to one device at a time in HD; standard (the most popular level) allows two devices at a time, in Full HD; and premium allows four devices at a time, in Ultra HD.

Disney+

• $7.99 a month

What you should know: Enjoy that prize while you can – Disney DIS,
-3.94%
is raising its monthly fee on December 8 for subscribers who want to keep their ad-free plans. The new ad-supported tier launching on the same day will cost $7.99 a month, while the premium, commercial-free tier will jump to $10.99 a month, and the annual plan will rise to $109.99. The new ad-supported tier will feature approximately four minutes of advertising per hour, in 15- and 30-second spots.

Hulu

• $7.99 a month for basic with ads

• $14.99 without ads

What you should know: Hulu raised prices by $1 to $2 in October. Hulu has offered an ad-supported plan for years, but it’s notoriously buggy, with occasional freezes and skipping being the most common issues.

Amazon’s Prime Video

• $14.99 a month

What you should know: There is no ad-supported plan. Monthly prices last rose by $2 a month in February, with the annual plan rising by $20 to $139 a year. On the bright side, Prime membership includes shipping benefits and Amazon AMZN,
-4.82%
recently expanded its library of ad-free songs and podcasts for subscribers.

HBO Max

• $9.99 a month with ads

• $14.99 without ads

What you should know: HBO Max launched its ad-supported plan in 2021 and hasn’t raised prices this year, but don’t expect it to last until 2023. Newly formed parent company Warner Bros. Discovery WBD,
-5.02%
will merge HBO Max with Discovery+ (currently $4.99 or $6.99 a month) next summer — so expect prices to go up then, if not sooner. The ad-supported tier has about four minutes of commercials per hour and is generally considered quite viewer-friendly.

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There are also cost-saving annual plans: $99.99 a year with ads, and $149.99 a year without ads.

Apple TV+

• $6.99 a month

What you should know: There is no ad-supported option. Apple TV+ raised its price by $2 a month in October, along with other subscription services, such as Apple Music and Apple One. Apple AAPL,
-3.73%
cited the growing lineup of shows and movies as the reason for the price increase…which is true, but it’s also likely due to its expensive investments in live sports, like Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer — and potentially NFL football.

Paramount+

• $4.99 a month with ads, but not live CBS

• $9.99 without ads, and with live local CBS

What you should know: Paramount PARA,
-12.42%
recently dropped the mid-tier “limited commercials” plan. It also introduced a more expensive package with Showtime: $11.99 a month with ads, $14.99 a month without ads. There are also cost-saving annual plans: $49 (with ads) and $99 (no ads), or $119.99 (ads plus Showtime) and $149.99 a year (no ads plus Showtime).

peacock

• Free basic level

• $4.99 a month with ads

• $9.99 a month without ads

What you should know: Pricing has remained stable since its launch in 2020. The free tier has ads and lacks Peacock’s full library of shows and movies. The tiers with ads run about five minutes of commercials per hour. The service also notes that due to licensing agreements, a small amount of programming, such as live events, has advertisements even at the ad-free level. Comcast CMCSA,
-2.06%
and Cox cable subscribers currently get Peacock Premium (with ads) for free, but These deals could reportedly end as soon as January.

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Discovery+

• $4.99 a month with ads

• $6.99 without ads

What you should know: Prices have remained flat, but as mentioned above, Discovery+ will be merging with HBO Max next summer, so expect a price increase for the combined service.

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