Netflix, Apple TV, Spotify: The rising subscription costs that won’t come down

Roughly a third of Aussies have cancelled streaming services in the past six months.

While we’ve all been struggling with increases in just about everything – mortgages, rent, fuel, energy, groceries, the list goes on – our frustrations are justified when it comes to the price of entertainment.

Streaming services are normally our gateway to escape cost-of-living frustrations outside of taking a cool plunge in the ocean, reading, going for a hike or baking. In the past, they’ve made up a smaller proportion of our budget. Now, streaming and subscription costs are on the up, amplified by how many services you’re subscribed to.

 

So, what’s changed?

We’ve seen two years of price hikes of $1-$10 a month from streaming giants including Spotify, Netflix, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Prime Video and BINGE. We’ve also had the introduction of ad tiers, a crackdown on password sharing, and changes to free trials.

So, it’s no wonder that, according to Finder research, one in three Aussies have cancelled streaming services in the past six months. It’s an easy way to save a few extra dollars.

The same Finder survey also found two-thirds of Aussies had at least one subscription and spent an average of $45 a month on streaming services. That’s $540 over the year.

With that in mind, here’s a snapshot of how much more you’re splurging on streaming services compared to a couple of years ago.

 

Table showing how much TV subscription services have increased in price.
(Source: Finder) (Finder)

 

Couple this with a list of everything else that’s shot up in price and you’ll find yourself making the hard decisions about which entertainment service to axe.

 

Netflix

Back in November 2021, Netflix raised the price of its standard and premium plans by $1 and $3 a month. A few more changes have been announced since, which may indirectly impact how much you spend on the service.

  • Netflix launched a lower-priced, ad-supported plan in November 2022 for $6.99 a month.
  • It phased out the basic plan, which used to cost $10.99 a month and was the cheapest way to access the service ad-free.
  • Also gone is sharing accounts with friends and family members. In May 2023, Netflix started its crackdown on password sharing in Australia. Now, only one household can use Netflix and adding on an extra person costs $7.99 a month.

Disney Plus

The first price hike for Disney Plus kicked in in February 2021 after it added the Star channel. We saw a hike from $8.99 to $11.99 a month, but at least there was something to be gained in return.

The next price hike came at the end of 2022, bumping up the cost to $13.99 a month but without any additional benefits. Even the annual subscription became $20 more expensive at $139.99.

For families with kids or anyone obsessed with the Marvel Universe, the extra cost has been unwelcoming. Frequent Disney Plus users should consider an annual subscription, saving you $27.89 compared to paying monthly.

Prime Video

We’re now spending an additional $3 a month on a Prime Video membership after it increased to $9.99 a month as of May 2023. The annual subscription also jumped from $59 to $79 but still works cheaper compared to a monthly subscription.

For the sake of finding the silver lining among all the price hikes, the one good thing about Prime Video is it remains one of the cheapest TV streaming services in Australia.

Some would even say the benefits outweigh the price increase, given the service forms part of the Amazon Prime membership, which offers free and expedited delivery on select items, access to exclusive deals and free Amazon Music.

 

Stan

Stan’s basic plan, which allows one stream at a time, continues to cost $10 a month. But the standard and premium tiers have been bumped in price by $2 a month as of September 2022, and cost $16 and $21, respectively.

At this point, it’s just another price hike but the major concern I have is if Stan will follow others and launch an ad tier in 2024 and discontinue its basic plan. Maybe Apple TV Plus is eyeing the option, too. They’ll be the last of the major streaming services to make the move.

Paramount Plus

Only recently, Paramount Plus announced it would launch two new plans. The premium tier will be available from November 16 and will include 4K streaming, exclusive content and four simultaneous streams.

Details on the ad tier have been light but we do know it’s launching some time next year. It won’t surprise me if Paramount Plus ditches its entry-level plan once it has enough premium subscribers. Some would call this smart; others sneaky.

Not to be left behind, Prime Video has also confirmed it will launch an ad tier in Australia next year but keep the distractions to a minimum compared to linear TV.

So, long story short? You either pay less and make do with ads, you pay more (and try to decrease your monthly spend elsewhere), or you follow some of the tips below to continue streaming your favourite content.

Tips to save on your streaming subscriptions

  1. Do you have more than one streaming subscription? If the answer is yes then pull up a notebook or a spreadsheet and work out how much you’re spending each month on multiple subscriptions.
  2. Next, take stock of what you need and what can be axed. For example, Finder’s survey found 34 per cent of those who had cancelled a streaming service had done so because they were not using it.
  3. If you’re still paying for premium subscriptions, consider if they’re necessary. Moving to a standard tier could save you money. Or, better yet, share your account with other households and split the cost of the subscription plus sharing fee.
  4. This tip is a personal favourite. Cycle through your streaming subscriptions so you’re only signed up to one service at a time based on the content you’re keen to watch. Perhaps this month, you’re leaning towards Disney Plus to watch season 2 of Loki. Maybe in December, you’ll be on the hunt for a streaming service that offers the best catalogue of wholesome Christmas movies. The goal is to only pay for the streaming services you’re actively watching right now.
  5. Lastly, shop around. Deciding which streaming services are worth your money is half the battle because there are now dozens of services to choose from.

And did you know: you could score up to 256 streaming days at no cost if you were to take advantage of free trials? That’s a lot of free TV, despite some services either culling their free trials altogether or reducing the length of time. Just keep in mind the actual number of free trials available can vary based on your past streaming habits.

 

article from: au.finance.yahoo.com