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Hulu to raise its prices again in October

An extra dollar won’t kill the company, but its customer service might

Love Hulu? Enough to pay another dollar a month? The streaming service hasn’t made a big to-do about it, but beginning October 8, its monthly rate will go up by $1 a month.

That means Hulu’s ad-supported service will shoot up to $6.99 a month, and its ad-free service will increase to $12.99 a month. The price for the Hulu live TV plan and the Disney bundle — which includes Disney+, Hulu with ads and ESPN+ — will stay put at $13.99 a month, most likely because that rate w...

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    AT&T drops AT&T TV Now to simplify offerings

    The company is merging the service with AT&T TV

    AT&T has announced that it’s merging AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV in an effort to bring “more value and simplicity” to its streaming service offerings. 

    “AT&T TV Now has merged with AT&T TV to bring you the best live and on-demand experience,” the company said in an update on its website. 

    Although the telecom and media giant has stopped allowing new sign-ups for AT&T TV Now, existing users will be able to continue using the service without disruptions or price changes.  

    AT&T TV Now was designed to replace the company’s “DirecTV Now” satellite service, which launched in November 2016. The “skinny bundle” offering was initially priced at $35 per month and offered cord-cutters more than 100 channels. However, AT&T raised the price over time, and many early adopters stopped using the service. 

    Going forward, the telecom’s AT&T TV offering -- which is more similar to traditional cable than AT&T TV Now -- will be offered with a month-to-month payment option. Current contracts will remain in effect, but customers can move to the month-to-month plan once their current contract expires. 

    Prices for the non-contractual options start at $70 per month. That price gets customers an Entertainment package that includes ESPN, CNN, and FX, as well as local broadcast channels and 20 hours of cloud DVR. For $10 extra per month, the company will add additional DVR storage. 

    Consumers can also choose to sign up for a two-year contract. Doing so drops the price of the Entertainment package’s first-year price to $60 per month. In the second year, that price increases to $93 per month. 

    AT&T; has announced that it’s merging AT&T; TV Now and AT&T; TV in an effort to bring “more value and simplicity” to its streaming service offerings. “...
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    AMC secures $100 million investment, but it says it will need more to avoid bankruptcy

    The movie chain continues to fret over studios releasing movies simultaneously on streaming services and in theaters

    AMC Theatres has secured a $100 million investment to help keep the beleaguered movie chain afloat, but it says it still needs another $750 million of additional liquidity to fund the company’s cash requirements through the end of 2021.

    Mudrick Capital came to AMC’s rescue with the additional funding. The company is an investment firm specializing in distressed credit investing, focused on “find(ing) investments with attractive risk reward ratios.” It also holds second lien notes issued by AMC and, if need be, will convert $100 million of existing AMC debt into AMC common stock.

    If all else fails?

    Should AMC fail to get more help, it repeated that it may have to enter bankruptcy proceedings. While 400 of its nearly 600 U.S. theaters are still open, bankruptcy may force it to close the rest of those theaters’ doors.

    “Given the uncertainty regarding our ability to raise material amounts of additional liquidity and the uncertainty as to the time at which attendance levels might normalize, substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” AMC said in a regulatory filing.

    Another COVID-19 casualty

    It’s no surprise, but AMC puts much of the blame squarely on the pandemic’s shoulders. 

    “A significant spike in coronavirus cases, together with delays of major movie releases or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theatre exhibition, have led to theatre closures, prevented the opening of theatres in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theatre attendance levels and our business,” AMC said.

    The company’s finger-pointing toward delays and simultaneous releases of movies was aimed directly at Warner Brothers, who recently decided to release its entire 2021 movie slate on its streaming service HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously. AMC has fretted about this possibility for months, and it said in the filing that other studios may follow. 

    AMC found some respite over the summer with Universal, which it struck a deal with to make movies available sooner outside of theaters. However, that’s the only handshake deal it has been able to make so far.

    AMC Theatres has secured a $100 million investment to help keep the beleaguered movie chain afloat, but it says it still needs another $750 million of addi...
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    Disney+ tacks on $1 to its monthly subscription price

    Subscribers will pay $8 a month for the service starting in the spring

    Disney+ is raising its monthly subscription price to $7.99 a month, a $1 increase. The new price will go into effect March 26, 2021. 

    With the price hike, subscribers will pay $79.99 per year. Disney is also raising the price of the Disney Bundle -- which has Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN Plus -- to $13.99 a month (also a $1 increase). 

    Since launching in November 2019, Disney+ has amassed a whopping 86.8 million subscribers. During a four-hour presentation for investors on Thursday, Disney said it’s putting a lot of money into new content and needs to raise prices for subscribers as a result. 

    As many as 20 new Marvel and Star Wars series and more than two dozen Disney and Pixar movies or series are headed straight to Disney+, according to the company. Disney+ will be the first to receive movies like “Pinocchio,” starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and “Peter Pan and Wendy,” starring Jude Law (both of which are still in production).

    The price increase comes a little over a month after fellow streaming giant Netflix raised the prices of its standard and premium subscription plans. At the time, Netflix’s COO and chief product officer Greg Peters said Netflix will “occasionally go back and ask [customers] to pay a little bit more to keep that virtuous cycle of investment and value creation going.” 

    Disney+ is raising its monthly subscription price to $7.99 a month, a $1 increase. The new price will go into effect March 26, 2021. With the price hik...
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