How to keep your streaming service cost down as prices soar



Audiences who once cut the cable cord in favor of streaming services are now wondering if they can afford the rising subscription fees for the various platforms.

Digital giants like Netflix have been bumping up their prices, and it’s rumored more services, such as Disney+, will follow suit later in the year.

But customers can still come out ahead with a little savvy — and a willingness to jump between platforms and cancel and re-up subscriptions on a rotating basis — according to Westchester streaming media expert Dan Rayburn.

“When the next season of ‘The Mandalorian’ comes out on Disney+, just sign up for three months, watch that season and then cancel [your subscription],” Rayburn advised. “Consumers are jumping between HBO Max, Paramount, Netflix because they can. What’s the downside? There isn’t one.”

The practice of “churning” is when customers cancel subscriptions after watching their desired programming and it can save money, according to Rayburn.Thomas TrutschelThe practice, known as “churning,” is an easy win with little downside, Rayburn said.

“A lot of people have a lot of subscriptions and if you ask them, they say, ‘Yeah, I haven’t had time to watch, I haven’t logged in since three months ago.’ Well, you probably shouldn’t have the service then since you’re not using it.”

Another savvy tip from Rayburn is to eye what non-TV purchases are popping up that throw in a free year or a few months as well.

“[When] I bought an LG TV during the holidays, I got Disney+ free for a whole year,” Rayburn said. He noted that T-Mobile customers are often eligible for a free Netflix account in the same way that buying Apple products will frequently come with a complimentary Apple TV deal.

Want to know what you’re getting into and how to budget your churn trajectory? Here’s a list of streaming service costs.

Netflix

In January, Netflix increased its standard two-screens-at-a-time streaming subscription cost from $13.99 to $15.50 and its basic single-screen plan from $8.99 to $9.99 per month. The streamer also hiked up its 4K-compatible premium service, which allows up to four simultaneous screens, from $17.99 to $19.99.

Disney+

Although Disney+ subscriptions are currently holding steady at $7.99 a month, there is speculation prices that will rise in anticipation of successful original programing coming in the fall.

“I think that will give us the impetus to increase that price/value relationship even higher and then have the flexibility if we were to so choose to then look at price increases on our service,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted on an earnings call earlier this month.

Amazon Prime Video

CEO Jeff Bezos boosted the cost of an entire Amazon Prime membership, which includes its video streaming service among product and shipping benefits, from $12.99 to $14.99 a month on Feb. 18.

Amazon justified the lift due to “the continued expansion of Prime member benefits as well as the rise in wages and transportation costs.” 

HBO Max

Plans with advertisements begin at $9.99 monthly for HBO Max and go ad-free for $14.99. The latter, pricier plan also allows for downloads and has 4K compatibility. There are no restrictions on content for the ad-included deal.

Paramount+

The recently rebranded parent company of CBS, Nickelodeon and MTV has announced a plan to add some Showtime content into a newly priced tier of Paramount+ this summer, Collider reported.

The service, which includes live programming, currently starts at $4.99 per month with advertisements and is ad-free for $9.99. Plans that will include the Showtime content will run $11.99 with commercials and $14.99 without.

Apple TV

The tech giant’s film and TV offerings begin at $4.99 per month a la carte or they can be had as part of a bundle with Apple Music and other company assets called Apple One.

That package deal, which ranges from $14.95 to $29.95, also includes iCloud storage space, an Apple arcade subscription and access to Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ in its most expensive “premier” subscription.

Peacock

Different than its competitors, NBC Universal’s Peacock app offers some free programing of 50 “always on” channels, along with select films and shows.

Paid subscriptions are $4.99 per month with ads or $9.99 for ad-free with the ability to download items.

Hulu

Hulu’s live TV bundle went up by $5 a month in December and is now priced between $70 and $76. But the price hike came with some benefits to consumers, according to the Verge.

That package now includes both Disney+ and ESPN+ subscriptions at no additional cost. The add-ons previously cost $7 to $8.

Hulu streaming services without live TV go for $6.99 with ads and $12.99 without.

YouTube TV

The $64.99 monthly live TV streaming service from Google offers 85-plus channels. Plus, there’s a hefty $20 4K-add-on option that’s getting ready to undergo a face-lift that will enable more features, Fierce Video reported.

“Soon, we’ll be unveiling a new way for viewers to use their phones while they watch YouTube on their TV to read or leave comments, share videos with a friend, and much more,” YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan wrote in a blog post.

Sling TV

Dish Network’s streaming agent offers a $35 plan with 32 channels focused on family and NBA content or 42 channels of entertainment and news. Or you can get everything for $50.

Still, many are shying away from Sling as it was reported last week that the service was down 70,000 followers in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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