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Why Now Is the Time to Reassess Your Streaming Service Needs

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Photo: Said Marroun (Shutterstock)

Spring cleaning can take many different forms. Sorting through the closet and donating the clothes you never wear. Going through the cabinets and throwing out spices that expired during the Clinton administration. Poring over your credit card bill and realizing you are subscribed to so many streaming services, you’re paying more than you did for cable. Yes, it’s time for a “digital” spring cleaning.

Given the recent negative headlines about Netflix’s stock woes and raft of cancellations, it’s as good a time as ever to take stock of the digital subscriptions you’ve amassed and figure out which ones you actually use. Whether you subscribe to two of them, or 10 (maybe you’re one of the 18,000 people heartbroken at the loss of CNN+?), it’s possible you’re paying for more of them that you need to be. Here are three reasons why that might be the case.

You’re going outside more

It’s not unreasonable that in the darkest hours of 2020, you subscribed to a litany of streaming services. Netflix? Of course. HBO Max? Totally. AMC+? How else are you going to watch Mad Men? No one blames you for doubling down on content during a global pandemic. But it’s not 2020 anymore. Odds are, you’re spending less time at home these days. Maybe you’re one of the millions of people who’ve returned to the office, where you can’t put a mindless show on in the background while you work. Or maybe you’ve maintained a WFH lifestyle, but your 2022 social calendar is tenfold busier than it was in 2020.

The point is you’re most likely spending less hours in front of the TV, so do you really need all of those options for when you do actually sit down to watch something? If your “supply” (time in your home) has been cut down, it makes sense to also cut down the “demand” (streaming service subscriptions).

Streaming prices have risen

Off the top of your head, can you tell me how much Netflix costs, or did you sign up years ago, set an auto-payment, and stop thinking about it? If you’re paying for premium Netflix, you’re now dropping a cool $20 per month for their service, a 42% increase from where it stood just four years ago. They’re not alone. Disney+ raised its monthly price from $6.99 to $7.99 early last year. Entertainment analysts suspect these charges will continue to creep upward as long as consumers seem willing to absorb the cost. That leaves you with two choices; pay an ever-increasing price or take stock of your streaming subscriptions and decide what’s really still worth paying for.

You’re probably already leaving money on the table

Given that streaming services are often offered as perks with other bills, you might be eligible for free access to stuff you’re currently paying for. If you’re a student who pays for Apple Music, you can get a free subscription of Apple TV+. If your phone carrier is Sprint Unlimited, you can get a free subscription of Hulu. If your cable provider is Xfinity, you can get a free subscription to Peacock. These are just some of the options out there for cashing in on streaming subscriptions into already existing line items in your budget. Don’t even get me started on bundle options.

Moreover, unless you are looking for specific content exclusive to a particular provider—the next water cooler series from HBO; the absurdly expensive new season of Stranger Things—there is enough free content out there to occupy your eyeballs until your Roku collapses from exhaustion. Lots of ad-supported streaming services will let you watch older movies and TV shows for free.