Do You Spend More on Streaming Subscriptions Than the Average American?

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People in the U.S. are spending more on streaming per year than you might expect.
Updated April 11, 2024
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In recent years, the landscape of entertainment consumption has undergone a dramatic shift. Streaming services have become ubiquitous, offering an abundance of content at our fingertips. However, this convenience comes at a price — quite literally. The average American is now shelling out nearly $1,000 a year on streaming subscriptions, surpassing the costs of traditional cable packages. Let's delve into the details of this growing expense and explore strategies to navigate the burgeoning costs of our digital entertainment.

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Average monthly spend on subscriptions

AA+W/Adobe video streaming apps on Apple iPhone

According to the Subscription Wars 2024 survey conducted by Bango, the average American subscriber allocates approximately $77 per month to streaming services. This figure may seem modest at first glance, but when extrapolated to an annual expenditure, it amounts to a significant sum of $924. This hefty financial commitment underscores the pivotal role that streaming services now play in the lives of consumers across the nation.

Delving further into the survey data unveils a spectrum of spending behaviors among subscribers. While $77 per month may represent the average expenditure, a notable segment of the population is willing to invest even more in their streaming habits. A quarter of the surveyed subscribers allocate $100 per month to streaming services, with a select few, constituting 5%, dedicating a staggering $200 monthly towards their digital entertainment.

Streaming subscription prices are rising

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe couple with money and calculator

As if the current costs weren't steep enough, streaming subscription prices are on the rise. Recent years have seen several major players in the streaming industry implementing price hikes, further squeezing the wallets of consumers. These increases come at a time when subscribers are already feeling the strain of multiple subscription expenses.

Last year alone, many of the top streaming platforms in the United States saw price increases, exemplifying a trend that is becoming all too familiar for consumers. In October, Apple TV+ raised its monthly fee to $9.99, while Netflix also implemented increases on two of its plans. Disney, Hulu, ESPN+, and Discovery+ all followed suit, further burdening subscribers with escalated fees.

What's particularly alarming is the magnitude of these price hikes. Across various subscription tiers, the average monthly cost surged by a staggering 23% last year, a stark contrast to the 3.4% inflation rate in the U.S. Earlier in the year, other major streaming platforms like HBO Max, Paramount+, and Peacock had already jacked up their rates, setting the stage for what has been dubbed as the era of “streamflation.”

The decision to raise prices comes with inherent risks, including the potential for higher cancellation rates. However, companies seem undeterred, driven by a herd mentality and a shift towards prioritizing profitability over subscriber acquisition.

While subscribers are getting less

Goodpics/Adobe woman watching netflix

Adding insult to injury, subscribers are finding themselves getting less for their money as streaming platforms crack down on password sharing and introduce ads for premium subscribers. Netflix and Disney+, for instance, have recently implemented stringent measures to combat password sharing, forcing users to either pay for additional accounts or face restrictions on their access. Similarly, Amazon Prime subscribers have been dismayed by the introduction of ads, tarnishing the once ad-free experience.

Bottom line

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In light of these developments, it's crucial for consumers to be savvy in managing their streaming expenses. Here are a few tips to keep costs down:

  • Bundle wisely. Look for bundle options or super-bundling services that allow you to manage multiple subscriptions at a discounted rate. Services like Verizon's +play offer convenience and potential savings by consolidating billing for various streaming platforms.
  • Be selective. Assess your viewing habits and prioritize subscriptions based on the content you truly value. Consider rotating subscriptions periodically to avoid accumulating unnecessary expenses.

While the era of streaming has revolutionized how we consume media, it's important to remain vigilant about the costs involved. By staying informed and adopting strategic approaches to subscription management, consumers can continue to enjoy their favorite content while keeping more money in their bank accounts.

You could potentially offset streaming costs while you watch with unique earning opportunities. For example, you could get paid to watch Netflix by using certain apps, writing close captioning, or working as a Netflix tagger.

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Author Details

Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.

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