Disney's Hulu with Live TV hikes monthly rates for ad-free streaming to $70

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Walt Disney Co.-owned Hulu let subscribers know Monday they'd be paying more for the service beginning in December.

It will soon be the most expensive of the cable TV streaming alternatives, a pack that also includes YouTube TV, Sling TV, AT&T Now and Philo.

Hulu's most expensive plan, which includes the Hulu streaming service, plus broadcast and cable TV channels, will cost $71 monthly, beginning Dec. 18, instead of $64.99.

Subscribers to the same offering, but with ads, will pay $10 more than they are now, $64.99 instead of $54.99.

Rivals don't offer ad-supported versions. YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, charges a flat $65 monthly. AT&T starts at $55, T-Mobile's TVision is $40 while Sling's service starts at $30, and Philo is $20.

Services like Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV were initially pitched as "cutting the cord" alternatives to consumers, as a way for shave costs and get much of what cable offers, without costly contracts and equipment rental. But while still marginally cheaper, the services are creeping up to cable territory.

The average monthly price of a cable bill in 2019 was $217.42, according to Consumer Reports, but that also included internet service.

Rates for the streamers have been ballooning this year, as programmers pay on to the streaming services. YouTube TV, for instance, started at just $35 monthly when it launched in 2017.

Hulu reminded subscribers that it offered more than 70,000 TV episodes and movies, along with more than 65 live news, sports and entertainment channels, all in one place.

Last week, Disney announced that it had lost more than $7 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic, which has seen it forced to close down its lucrative California theme parks.

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