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Kiplinger
Kiplinger
Business
Jamie Feldman

There's A $1,000 Reason to Find Out How Much You're Paying A Year For Streaming

Two children sitting in front of a tv screen which is lit up with blue-green light.

Americans are spending on average almost $1,000 per year on streaming their favorite shows, movies and sporting events, according to a new "Subscription Wars" study by Bango, a provider of software for bundling subscriptions. 

Bango recently polled 5,000 U.S. streaming subscribers about their habits and found that, on average, most of us are spending $924 a year, or $77 per month, on streaming services, with about a quarter of us paying $100 per month. One in 20, however, are laying out a whopping $2,400.

Even so, the average amount we spend on streaming is still less than the average spent on cable. A recent Cord Cutters News report puts the average cable bill at more than $200 per month.

For streaming services, the push to better monetize subscriptions is on with many now offering both ad-supported and the more pricey ad-free subscriptions. Many including Netflix, have also cracked down on password sharing, a move that actually caused a 35% increase in sign ups, the study shows.

In fact, as Netflix hiked prices last October for the second time in less than two years, it announced a huge increase in subscribers thanks largely to cracking down on password sharing. The streaming giant said that, as it delivers value to subscribers, "we occasionally ask them to pay a bit more."

The study cautions, however, that while streamers have been successful at hiking prices, "continued increases may lead to certain consumers being unable to afford their subscriptions, as over half of subscribers (57%) have discontinued their subscriptions because of unanticipated price hikes."

Good deal hunting

Many subscribers are looking for deals, the study shows, with about one in five avoiding the traditional, direct subscription process by, for example, signing up for indirect services via bundling with another service. The result could be lower cost or even free subscriptions as part of a package.

Just last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a potential new bundle on the horizon with rumors that Peacock and Paramount Plus might merge. In December 2023, Verizon announced that its latest streaming perk bundles Netflix and Max for $10 per month.

Bundling may also help with "subscription fatigue" that many customers are experiencing, according to the study. It finds that more and more people are interested in signing up for a content hub where they can get all their subscriptions in one place and have one bill to manage each month.

A content hub "isn't just about convenience," according to the study. "It's also about landing the best possible deals, with more than half of subscribers (54%) expecting to receive a discount on subscriptions when bundled in this way."

As the subscription wars rage on, there are a number of ways to try and save on streaming services without sacrificing programming. You could, for example, try rotating out or even canceling services and waiting to re-subscribe when there is a promotional period.

You could also keep an eye out for free streaming services too.

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