Cutting Down on Streaming Subscriptions

By leemartinc

Remember the feeling you felt when you finally  “cut the cord” on your cable subscriptions? Think about all of that money you saved a month and how good it felt when you subscribed to just one or two streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, services where you could find all of your favorite shows and movies together in one place. 

Times have changed, haven’t they? 

The rise of streaming services

Consumer spending on streaming subscriptions rose 30% in the first nine months of 2018, with estimates that consumers spent almost $12.3 million on streaming services or video-on-demand, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. And that number is only getting higher.

TV and cable companies have caught on to the fact that there’s money to be made in creating their own streaming services, offering shows and movies they own and a slew of new content. 

HBO and Disney have just released new streaming services and NBC will soon add their own streaming platform to the mix. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, Hulu and others, this means a lot more choice in how and what consumers watch. 

Overabundance of streaming platforms too much of a good thing?

Unfortunately, this also means we’re being forced to pay multiple streaming subscriptions for the content we want. Because of this, what was once an easy, convenient, and inexpensive way of getting all of the content we wanted on one platform is quickly turning into a pricey and inefficient way to consume media. And we haven’t even gotten into streaming music services such as Spotify and Apple Music. 

According to a recent survey from The Trade Desk, three-quarters of consumers in the U.S. only want to pay $30 a month at the most for streaming services. And 59% of consumers prefer to pay less than $20 a month. 

So, where does that leave you? 

If you’re struggling to cut costs in your household and streaming services are one of your main culprits, we have a few tips that might help your budgeting process. 

  1. List a budget breakdown of all of your streaming services

The first thing you need to do is to make a list of all of your streaming service subscriptions, including video, music, and podcasts. List the cost of each, ranging from most to least per month, and how often you use them. At this point, you don’t want to get rid of all of them. After all, we are in the middle of a pandemic and you still need entertainment since you’re most likely stuck at home more on a regular basis. An Excel or Google spreadsheet is a good way to keep track of these things, as well as your usage of each of these subscriptions. Use this system for 30 days to see how often you’re taking advantage of these services. 

  1. Prioritize your streaming subscriptions

After a month, look at the streaming services you’ve watched and listened to the most. Be realistic about which ones you’d miss and which ones you just can’t live without. Are you getting enough value from each of these services to warrant the costs? 

  1. Substitute your paid streaming subscriptions for free ones

Though they may not quite be the equivalent of what you have now, look at some of the free streaming subscription services available and see if any of them would be viable substitutes for services you might be able to cut out. 

A few of the most popular ones are: 

  • Crackle – An ad-supported service that has popular, older TV shows and movies, original content and even a children’s educational channel called the Homeschool Channel. 
  • Tubi TV – With more than 20,000 titles, this ad-supported service includes selections from Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Starz Digital. 
  • Fawesome.tv – A newer ad-supported streaming service with more than 10,000 movies and TV shows across multiple genres. 
  • Hoopla – If you have a library card, you can use Hoopla to get free movies, audiobooks, comics, music, and more. 
  • Pluto TV – Features newer theatrically-released movies and content from channels such as AMC, IFC, WeTV, Nickelodeon and other channels. 
  1. Share your streaming services

Not that we’re encouraging you to do this, but you always have the option to share your streaming service accounts with friends and other family members. The idea is to share your login info for one of your streaming services with another family and ask them to do the same with you. So it’s like you’re getting two for the price of one. You can share your Netflix account with a friend or loved one and they can share their Hulu account with you, so you’re each paying for only one. Again, not that we’re suggesting you do that…

  1. Try a streaming service package

Because the streaming service market is becoming way overcrowded, more and more companies are offering streaming services packages that offer two, three, and even four different streaming services all in one package for one price. For example, Disney offers a bundle where you can buy Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN for 25% off the price of all three

For a more extensive list, Southern Living offers some great recommendations. 

  1. Cut the streaming services you can live without

Now that you’ve weighed out all of your options, it’s time to cut the services you’ve decided to live without. At first, this might be painful but you’ll soon notice that after a while, you’ll forget all about what you might be missing and discover new and exciting content you may not have otherwise known about before. Don’t forget, you can always subscribe to the streaming services you had to cut again in the future.