It is time to pay attention to your streaming subscriptions. Prices are going up across the board and some services have raised prices multiple times. The New York Times reported that prices have risen over 25% over the past year. Almost any streaming service you can name is charging more per month than it did a couple of years ago. To add insult to injury, many of these services are also adding ads to their platforms, and still charging more.
Why is this happening?
- Investors in these companies want to see a profit. That’s not too much to ask, I don’t think, but it’s still painful for the consumer to adjust.
- Customers are canceling their cable faster than the industry anticipated which has the studios and distributors looking for ways to make up the lost revenue.
- After COVID, the public is demanding more good TV shows and movies, which are more expensive than ever to make.
- Subscriptions are slowing now that the pandemic is over, streaming prices are rising, and the threat of inflation still lurks.
- The streaming services are looking for ways to make money to stay in business. Here are some of the latest changes, as of mid-October 2023:
Netflix is increasing prices, again. Users of the basic plan at $9.99 a month will now have to pay $11.99, and those paying $19.99 for Premium will have to pay $22.99.
The monthly price of the ad-free Discovery Plus is going from $6.99 a month to $8.99 a month plus taxes.
Paramount Plus and HBO Max already raised prices this year. Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and Hulu with Live TV are raising prices in November 2023.
Peacock added 2 million subscribers over the past three months, and are now up to 24 million subscribers in the U.S. Their prices increased last August. The cheapest Premium plan increased from $4.99 to $5.99 per month and the Premium Plus package that has most of its content ad-free increased from $9.99 to $11.99.
Google raised the price of You Tube Premium by $2.00 to $13.99 per month.
Music providers like Apple Music, Spotify and You Tube Music have also raised their monthly charges.
Amazon Prime had a successful 2022, rare in the industry, and plans on heavily investing in content. They are also planning on creating 12-15 films that will premier in movie theaters before they enter the streaming service. Amazon Prime just announced that its streaming service, now included in its $139 per year Prime membership, will cost $2.99 more to be ad-free.
How to save money on streaming services?
Review your streaming services. It’s easy to do by going through your credit cards. I would bet that you’re subscribing to a couple you’ve totally forgotten about.
If you have subscriptions for only one or two shows, consider canceling them when the current season of the show has been watched, and rejoining when the new season airs.
Some of the companies are bundling up, like Disney + and Hulu. Individual subscriptions to each of those services would total $31.98. For the Duo plan it’s $19.99.
Choose a cheaper pricing tier. Companies now offer levels of plans usually with or without ads.
Stream TV shows and movies for free. There are free streaming services like Freevee, Pluto TV and Tubi. The content will have ads.
Many streaming companies still allow sharing log-ins.
Consider a cable replacement service. We canceled our cable last year and use You Tube TV and we can access all the network channels and cable channels we like for much less.
A survey of two thousand adults in the U.S. found that over half reported subscribing to four or more streaming services. Almost one in ten subscribe to nine or more.
The only defense the consumer has is to make sure we are only paying for what we really want. It is not as difficult as you might think to cancel unused or expired free trial subscriptions. This tidbit below is from our October 27 Friday Bulletin:
If you’re like me, you have signed up for free trials from smartphone apps, maybe to watch stream one show, or listen to a particular podcast episode, then promptly forgot to cancel your free trial, and have been paying a monthly fee ever since.
For the future, here’s a great tip – when you sign up for a free trial, cancel it immediately! You will still be able to use the app until the trial ends. Isn’t that amazing?
Here are instructions on how to cancel subscriptions from Apple, and from Google.
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