It is no longer as affordable as it once was to relax after a long day’s work and play your favorite TV show on your streaming service of choice. That is because nearly every streaming service is upping their prices amid high inflation and increased competition.
While paying for a streaming service is still in many ways cheaper than cable TV, subscription costs are surging, with a new company announcing a price hike nearly every day.
Discovery+ updated its pricing structure on October 3, ensuring that ad-free users will have to pay more than before.
Whereas customers used to be able to pay $6.99, the ad-free plan will now cost $8.99 per month, with the ad-lite tier remaining at $4.99.
And Disney+ followed that news with an announcement that while its ad-supported tier will still cost $7.99, the ad-free option is surging from $10.99 to $13.99.
Meanwhile, Hulu used to offer an ad-free subscription for $14.99 a month, but that price is also jumping $3 to $17.99.
While Netflix hasn’t said it will be increasing its prices again any time soon, the company previously went on a crackdown on password sharing, forcing more users to pay for subscriptions themselves rather than depend on their friends or family.
The price hikes likely come as streaming companies fight for a slowly dissolving customer base.
In the second quarter, streaming companies signed up 37.5 million new subscribers but they lost a whopping 34.8 million of their existing users, making the market even more competitive as new companies come onto the scene, according to The Wrap.
“Consumer perception around the new release catalogue size is all important here,” Ampere Analysis research director Richard Cooper told The Wrap.
“Services that are able to show the volume of new high profile content additions will be able to command relatively higher prices. Those services that don’t have as many new TV show and movie additions, or are not able to advertise them as effectively to consumers, will not be able to charge as much or raise prices to the same extent.”
How To Save Money On Streaming
With increased price hikes, the easiest way to save some extra money is to just abandon your subscriptions altogether.
But if you enjoy your streaming services and want to keep them, what’s the best way to go about it? A few strategies will come in handy for most consumers.
If you currently don’t have a streaming service in your name but want to add one, timing is everything.
Keep your eye out for the best limited-time deals to sign up for the services because they will mean more money in your pocket in the long run.
Occasionally, Hulu offers a Live TV plan for a $20 discount per month for the first three months of streaming. This could earn consumers a $60 savings over the first 90 days.
You also may want to choose a bundle deal for more savings in the future.
The Disney bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, allows you to get all three streaming services with added savings. Altogether, you’ll save 49 percent per month.
There are currently three tiers available: Duo Basic, at $9.99 a month for Disney+ and Hulu (with ads); Trio Basic, costing $12.99 a month for all three with ads as well as the Trio Premium, for $19.99 monthly for all three, absolutely no ads included.
If you’re only looking to watch one or a few shows and movies, Amazon Prime might be your best bet. That’s because Amazon Prime Video offers a 30-day trial completely for free.
So, if you simply watch the show or movie you’re interested in, you can cancel the subscription immediately after at no charge to you.
Or, if you plan to keep Amazon Prime Video around, consider paying for a year’s subscription upfront. It will cost you $149 at one time, but that saves you $40 over the course of the year.
Another easy way to save money on streaming services is to take stock on all the ones you pay for and how much they’re eating into your monthly budget. Are there ones you use more than others? Which ones are truly worth it based on the frequency of using them?
By looking at streaming services as a snapshot of your budget, you’ll be able to better understand which ones you should make a priority in your life.
According to Consumer Report’s American Experiences Survey of 2,097 U.S. adults in February 2023, more than 50 percent of American households subscribe to four or more streaming services.
However, if your household doesn’t use all of them equally, it might be time to eliminate some from the list as the prices continue to skyrocket.
It also might pay to become a streaming service ‘hopper.’ By choosing to only subscribe to one service a month, you can watch all the content you’re interested in from that company for that particular month before moving to a new one with different content.
This strategy allows you to have the best of both worlds for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and more while still paying for only one service at a time.
You should also choose the cheapest subscription option, which generally comes with advertisements included, for the greatest savings.
And while Netflix might have cracked down on password sharing, many other streaming services still permit the practice. By paying for one service and sharing it with friends who have a different kind, you can save a lot of money over the span of a year.