Hulu will raise price of live TV packages, but lower the cost of basic streaming

Yvonne Strahovski in a scene from the Hulu original show "The Handmaid's Tale."

Netflix isn’t the only streaming video company raising prices. Add Hulu to the list.

Next month, Hulu will increase the cost of its services that include live TV channels. For example, a package that has access to Hulu and live TV would cost $44.99 a month, a $5 increase starting on Feb. 26. Access to Hulu with no ads plus its live TV service will jump $7 to $50.99 a month.

In a statement announcing the price changes, Hulu said it added nearly a dozen live TV channels such as the CW and the Discovery Channel, improved the technology to support more devices on its platforms and offered many exclusive episodes and movies in the last year.

Hulu hasn’t raised the prices on its live TV packages since that service launched in 2017.


“With more than 85,000 episodes of on-demand television — more than any other U.S. streaming service — as well as thousands of movies and more than 60 popular live television channels, Hulu makes it easy for TV fans to get the most complete television experience,” the company said.

The price changes will go into effect Feb. 26 for new subscribers and in the statement period after Feb. 26 for current customers.

The price hike won’t affect people who subscribe solely to Hulu’s on-demand video service, which has original shows such as “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Subscribers to its most popular plan, Hulu with ads, will actually see their cost go down $2 to $5.99 a month, which could tempt more potential customers to give the service a try. The cost of Hulu without ads will remain $11.99 a month.

Other streaming services have also been raising their prices. Earlier this month, Netflix bumped the price of its most popular plan by $2 to $12.99 a month to help finance its plans to add more content to its library.

Hulu has been gaining subscribers, reporting a 48% increase to more than 25 million last year compared with the year before. That amount included customers of its live TV and on-demand video streaming service. The company continues to make significant investments in content. Disney, which owns 30% of Hulu, recently attributed its $580-million loss in its last fiscal year primarily to Hulu’s “higher programming, labor and marketing costs.”

But as companies raise prices, some industry observers say that may cause some cost-conscious customers to opt out.

“There are some viewers that aren’t going to be able to maintain subscriptions for all the shows they would like to watch,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.


Twitter: @thewendylee