The Rising Costs of Streaming Services

The Rising Costs of Streaming Services

Over the last decade, many consumers have joined the 'cut the cord' club and switched from traditional cable TV to streaming services for entertainment. Due to that increased demand, streaming services have multiplied, forcing consumers to subscribe to numerous services to regain the coverage they previously had with cable.

The proliferation of streaming services is having a notable impact on family budgets. Initially perceived as a cost-effective alternative to traditional cable TV, streaming services now contribute to increased monthly entertainment expenses. As more platforms emerge, each offering exclusive content, families subscribe to multiple services to access a diverse range of shows and movies. This fragmentation means that what was once a strategy to save money is now leading to cumulative costs that rival or exceed traditional cable bills. Consequently, families face the challenge of balancing the desire for Variety in entertainment with the need to manage their household budgets effectively.

In addition to the expense of managing numerous streaming subscriptions, in 2023, American households also saw some significant price increases for those services. A November 2023 article in Variety, "Price Storm: Why Major Streaming Services Have Hiked Rates This Year," notes that monthly subscription prices rose an average of 23 percent, well above the inflation rate.

Netflix alone increased its price. Apple TV+ increased rates for the first time by a whopping 40%. In one year, the monthly fees of Paramount+, Apple TV+, Netflix, and Peacock climbed by 20%.

So, how do you deal with the proliferation of streaming services and their rising costs without giving them up completely?

Managing Your Subscriptions

The first step to managing your subscriptions is evaluating them. Write down each service you subscribe to and their cost. Then, take some time to think about how frequently you use each service.

For example, if you subscribe to Disney+, Netflix, Max, and Hulu, you may not need or use all 4 of them regularly. You could regularly use Netflix and Max and only use Hulu and Disney+ on occasion. If that's the case, consider keeping Netflix and Max while canceling Hulu and Disney+; doing so could save you hundreds each year.

If you don't want to cancel your subscription services, consider pausing some each month. Using the example above, maybe Disney+ releases a season of your favorite series once a year for two months. During this time, you can keep your account active and pause your subscription for the rest of the year, allowing you to enjoy your favorite show while saving money.

Also, consider their cost when considering which services to keep and which to cancel. Prices vary from service to service, so it may be in your best interest to cancel the most expensive one so you can keep two or more cheaper options.

Exploring Free and Ad-Supported Options

Another way to deal with rising costs is by considering free and ad-supported options. For example, Spotify offers Spotify Premium and Spotify Free. The free version comes with ads that play between songs.
Hulu offers a similar option: watching all your favorite shows while paying less to stream with ads.

Nobody likes ads, but you must ask yourself how much you want to save money. How tight is your budget? Switching to ad-supported options may be worth it.

In addition, free streaming services like Pluto TV, Roku, Tubi, and Freevee also exist.

Moreover, your local library, college, or university may have free streaming options, such as Kanopy or Hoopla Digital, or the ability to rent DVDs.

Looking for Deals and Bundles

You may be eligible for deals and bundles that save you on your streaming service costs without knowing it. For example, specific T-Mobile plans offer Netflix bundles, and people with T-Mobile's Go 5G Plus plan can receive an Apple TV+ subscription free of charge.

Every year around Black Friday, pay attention to streaming service deals that can get you low prices on their yearly subscription. In addition, there may be other deals around various holidays throughout the year.


Rising costs for streaming services are a real pain, especially if you have a tight budget. Luckily, we're not here to tell you you must live in a world without TV or movies. Most people can manage these rising costs by eliminating some of their subscriptions and switching to free or ad-supported options.

Lastly, consider choosing one if you're paying for cable TV and streaming services. Doing so could save you big each year.