Does Cord Cutting Cord Really Save Money? We Count The Actual Cost of Rising Streaming Prices

We’ve done the maths on the rising cost of streamers. In years gone by, streaming services were regarded as low-cost alternatives to the way people have traditionally consumed movies and shows. Subscription services, with their simple monthly fees, represented a vast saving on a theater ticket or pricey cable packages in both the US and the UK.

But the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 has brought with it a swathe of planned price increases or the introduction of advert-infused packages to keep the costs down and revenues up for providers. Added to that, there are a lot more streaming services and most of the new kids on the block are run by big studios and broadcasting behemoths, each beginning to hoard their content.

With the cost of living crisis biting, we thought we’d do the maths and actually add up what it’ll cost UK and US subscribers to truly embrace streaming in all its forms, and whether you’d still be making a saving or not. Exactly how much will it cost to get the complete streaming experience at home, and is it worth it?

Streaming prices, compared and combined

Let’s start with the biggest fish in the streaming pond, Netflix, which has just announced a swathe of price increases.

Netflix’s cheapest option, the basic package, has just increased in the UK from £5.99 a month to £6.99 in the UK. This increase is the first increase in the streamer’s basic package in 10 years in the UK. That’s the package which lets you stream to just  one device. A standard package, which allows viewers the option of watching across two devices simultaneously and in HD, now costs £10.99 a month, while premium subscribers have been hit even harder, with their new monthly rates at £15.99 in the UK.

In the US, the basic package comes in at $9.99 a month, before you move to $15.49 with standard and now $19.99 with premium. The days of $8 a month fees, as Netflix was when it first became a streaming service, are long, long gone.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 per month

Netflix (Basic, UK) – £6.99 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49 per month

Netflix (Standard, UK) – £10.99 per month

Next, we’ll look at Disney Plus, an increasing must-have, not just if you’re a Marvel or Star Wars fan, but also for any parents with the sheer weight of animated and live-action family classics on the service.

At the moment, you’ve only got one option, $7.99 or £7.99 a month, if you want to pay monthly. An ad-supported option is on the way later this year, but not just yet. So lets add that to the Netflix costs:

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 = $17.98 per month

Netflix (Basic, UK) – £6.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 = £14.98 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 = $23.48 per month

Netflix (Standard, UK) – £10.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 = £18.98 per month

Now let’s add on some Prime Video. The cost will be vastly offset for a lot of households for the savings they’ll make on their Amazon deliveries, but it’s still costly. That said, with the Lord of the Rings series on the way later in the year and an increasing array of straight to streaming blockbusters, it’s still well worth having.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 = $32.97 per month

Netflix (Basic, UK) – £6.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 = £22.97 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 = $38.47 per month

Netflix (Standard, UK) – £10.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 = £26.97 per month

Now we’ll pop on HBO Max, still not available for UK customers, with all their content going to the Sky and NOW services. Unless you’ve got a VPN that is.

There are two options for wannabe HBO Max subscribers, the with Ads’ plan at $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, or an ads-free plan, which comes in at $14.99 a month or $149.99 a year.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max With Ads $9.99 = $42.96 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max Ads-Free $14.99 = $53.46 per month

Let’s chuck in some Hulu now, again, just in the US for the time being with most of their content split between Prime and Sky when it comes to the UK. Again, the service offers two packages, with ads for $6.99 and without for $12.99.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO With Ads $9.99 + Hulu with Ads $6.99 = $49.95 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max Ads-Free $14.99 + Hulu No Ads $12.99 = $66.45 per month

Paramount Plus, which is also US only at the moment, offers two options. The basic package, which they call ‘Essential’. That’s a few adverts for $4.99 a month or $49.99/year if you’re prepared to pay upfront. Or, for $9.99 a month or $99.99/year for the year, you can get Paramount’s ‘Premium’ plan, which has no ads as well as access to your local live CBS station.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO With Ads $9.99 + Hulu with Ads $6.99 + Paramount Essential $4.99 = $54.94 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Ads-Free $14.99 + Hulu No Ads $12.99 + Paramount Premium $9.99  = $76.44 per month

Now let’s add in some BritBox, one of the less high-profile streaming services, but one with an impressive back catalogue of British content which won’t be going back to Netflix, where much of it lived, any time soon. This one is a single price offering, £5.99 in the UK or $6.99 in the US.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO With Ads $9.99 + Hulu with Ads $6.99 + Paramount Essential $4.99 + BritBox $6.99 = $61.93 per month

Netflix (Basic, UK) – £6.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 + BritBox £5.99 = £28.96 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max Ads-Free $14.99 + Hulu No Ads $12.99 + Paramount Premium $9.99 + Britbox $6.99 = $83.43 per month

Netflix (Standard, UK) – £10.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 + BritBox £5.99 = £32.96 per month

If you fancy adding Apple TV Plus on top of that to get your Ted Lasso fix, it’s a straightforward fee of $4.99 in the US and £4.99 in the UK.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO With Ads $9.99 + Hulu with Ads $6.99 + Paramount Essential $4.99 + BritBox $6.99 + Apple TV+ $4.99 = $66.92 per month

Netflix (Basic, UK) – £6.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 + BritBox £5.99 + Apple TV + £4.99 = £33.95 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max Ads-Free $14.99 + Hulu No Ads $12.99 + Paramount Premium $9.99 + Britbox $6.99 + Apple TV+ $4.99 = $88.42 per month

Netflix (Standard, UK) – £10.99 + Disney Plus £7.99 + Prime Membership £7.99 + BritBox £5.99 + Apple TV+ £4.99 = £37.95 per month

Finally, let’s include Peacock, NBC and Universal’s offering which will soon hold much of their movie back catalogue, including family favourites like Despicable Me. Unlike almost all of the others, there’s a free option, which has a limited catalogue and a lot of ads. There’s also Peacock Premium at $4.99 a month and Premium Plus at $9.99. There’s no option for no ads, but there are far fewer on Premium Plus. Again, this is US only at the moment.

Netflix (Basic) $9.99 + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO With Ads $9.99 + Hulu with Ads $6.99 + Paramount Essential $4.99 + BritBox $6.99 + Apple TV+ $4.99 + Peacock Premium $4.99 = $71.91 per month

Netflix (Standard) – $15.49  + Disney Plus $7.99 + Prime Membership $14.99 + HBO Max Ads-Free $14.99 + Hulu No Ads $12.99 + Paramount Premium $9.99 + Britbox $6.99 + Apple TV+ $4.99  + Peacock Premium Plus $9.99 = $98.41 per month

Analysis – Is streaming a good deal anymore?

Yes, just about, but its value is definitely in decline. Most US cable packages will set you back around $60 per month for a basic package that comes with most of the most well-known cable channels. Slightly higher calibre plans are closer to $75 per month, with the premium plans getting up to, and, sometimes, well in excess of,  $100 per month.

None of those packages come with premium channels like HBO or Showtime, which are a mandatory $14.99 and $8.99 extra, and they get more expensive if you start to factor in sport. Lots of those cable packages will give you the option to bundle in your broadband and phone calls too, which none of the streamers are currently providing.

In the UK, the array of streamers isn’t quite as wide (unless you’re crafty with your VPN), but when compared with the cost of most Sky or BT packages, even if you bundle in Netflix too, it’s still pretty reasonable. That’s especially true for Sky. It once looked untouchable with its array of blockbuster movies constantly arriving on Sky Cinema, but now a cursory look at the service will find lots of straight-to-VHS fodder with most of the back catalogue, especially the once vast library of family films, now stripped back to the bare bones.

Our recommendation, for what it’s worth, is to think carefully about what you’re signing up for and to constantly ask yourself if you’re getting value for money from the service, especially as we’re no longer confined to our houses. At the end of every month, look back at what you’ve watched and which streamers are getting little to no use at all. Cancelling and restarting all these services is quite easy to do, so take full advantage of that.

Tom Goodwyn

 

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Tom Goodwyn is TechRadar’s Senior Entertainment Editor. He loves nothing more than spending all day in the cinema

Source: Does cord cutting cord really save money? We count the actual cost of rising streaming prices… | TechRadar

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