Twenty years ago the 'promise land' for TV was not only cutting the cord but getting access to only the channels or networks you wanted. The Ala Carte model was a pipe dream until Netflix kicked off the streaming revolution. Fast-forward to today and you have a plethora of streaming services to choose from: Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Hulu, YouTube TV, Paramount+, HBO Max, and on and on. But in a cruel twist of fate, it's now even more expensive to watch this content than traditional cable. Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac has more.
As little as a year ago, a popular set of streaming services added up to a total cost of $73 per month – compared to $83 for an equivalent cable package. But the latest round of streaming price increases has pushed that cost to $87, says a Financial Times analysis, making it more expensive than cable.
Apple TV+ was one of the first services to see a price rise, back in October of last year, increasing from $4.99 to $6.99 – a 40% hike.
Disney followed in December, with an increase of 25%, from $7.99 to $10.99 for Disney+ Basic. The price was increased again just last month, to $13.99. That amounts to a total increase of 75% in less than a year!
Hulu pricing was increased at the same time, the ad-free tier rising by 20% from $14.99 to $17.99.
Warner Bros. in January increased HBO Max pricing from $15 to $16, and Netflix last month dropped the Netflix Basic tier from its lineup for new or switching subscribers, more than doubling the effective cost.
Companies including Netflix and Disney are also cracking down on password-sharing, further increasing costs for some families.9to5Mac
For years, to quickly gain subscribers, streaming has been ran at a loss in one way or another. Disney+ was $6 for a few years for anyone who subscribed during the announcement. Apple gave away TV+ for about two years to anyone who bought any product. Netflix didn't care if you shared your password.
But, just like any other real business, it's been time to pay the piper. All these companies have shareholders to make happy and losing money on a service isn't something to achieve that goal. Prices have steadily risen and put the squeeze on subscribers. Even worse is the fact that all the shows are exclusive. So you can't hope to catch Stranger Things one day on Amazon Prime down the road because that'll never happen. You're locked in.
Guess the old cable package wasn't so bad in hindsight.
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