Is it truly cost-effective to cut the cord? Subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, and other primary streaming services now totals $120 per month due to rising prices in the midst of intense competition among platforms

Is it truly cost-effective to cut the cord? Subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, and other primary streaming services now totals $120 per month due to rising prices in the midst of intense competition among platforms

Rising Costs of Streaming Services

Subscribing to a suite of streaming platforms has long been perceived as a more economical choice compared to traditional cable TV. However, recent trends indicate a significant surge in prices across various streaming services.

In the past year alone, the majority of these platforms have witnessed price hikes, some as high as 43 percent.

For those who thought they were saving money by cutting the cable cord, the current landscape raises questions about the actual cost-effectiveness of streaming services.

Tilly Armstrong, Assistant Consumer Editor for, explores this shift in the streaming industry and its implications for household budgets.

For any thoughts on this matter, readers are encouraged to share their experiences at

The Growing Price Tag of Streaming Services

Analysis conducted by reveals that households now spend over $120 monthly to subscribe to nine leading streaming services.

This list includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, and Britbox.

The cumulative cost of these ad-free plans has escalated, and additional subscriptions to platforms like ESPN+, NFL+, or YouTube Premium could push this figure even higher.

A 2022 study by Parks Associates notes that a quarter of American households are subscribed to nine or more streaming services, while half are signed up for at least four.

As competition increases, services are adjusting their pricing models, with some experiencing a staggering 43 percent price hike within the last year.

Impact on Household Budgets

The belief that subscribing to multiple streaming services is a more budget-friendly option than cable TV is being challenged.

While cable TV costs vary across states, averaging around $83 per month for TV-only service, streaming services are no longer the cheaper alternative they once were.

With cable packages reaching up to $200 per month for bundled TV, internet, and phone services, the affordability of streaming is diminishing.

The surge in streaming service prices suggests that the era of budget-friendly streaming may be coming to an end.

Price Fluctuations Over Time

In January 2023, it would have cost just over $100 per month to subscribe to the same nine major streaming services. This indicates a notable increase in costs within a year.

Eight out of the nine major streaming platforms raised their prices in the past year, with Apple TV+ leading the pack with a 43 percent increase in its ad-free tier.

Disney+ and Britbox followed suit with price hikes of 27 percent and $1 per month, respectively.

Netflix also made changes by eliminating its $9.99 per month ad-free plan for new members, raising its cheapest ad-free plan to $15.49 per month.

Evolution of Business Models

The influx of streaming services into the market has compelled companies to reassess their pricing and business models to enhance profitability.

Last year witnessed a clampdown on password sharing by Netflix, the elimination of certain plans, and the introduction of new pricing structures.

Major platforms, including Netflix, Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Disney+, and Hulu, now offer subscriptions with commercials at reduced prices.

However, recent announcements, such as Amazon Prime Video’s introduction of ads with an additional fee, further complicate the landscape.

Options for Cost Reduction

While the rising costs of streaming services pose challenges for consumers, some platforms offer bundled subscriptions as a potential solution.

Disney+ and Hulu, along with ESPN+, provide various combination deals to reduce the financial burden on households subscribing to multiple platforms.

For instance, the Disney Bundle Duo Premium, which includes Disney+ and Hulu without ads, is available for $19.99 per month, offering potential savings of $11.99. Another option is the Disney Bundle Trio Premium, costing $24.99 per month, which includes Disney+ without ads, Hulu without ads, and ESPN+ with ads.

Exploring these bundled options may be a strategy for households seeking to balance their entertainment expenses.

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