The saying goes that freedom isn’t free. This is proving to be especially true in the pay-TV industry, where consumers now have access to a large variety of seemingly low-cost streaming media services.
In reality, however, the price of these low-cost services is proving to be quite high.
Netflix drew attention to this issue with a recent announcement stating that millions of customers will soon have to pay more to receive its standard high-definition video service. In 2014, Netflix announced gradual price increases from $7.99 per month to $9.99; at the time, it gave existing subscribers “grandfathered” status, and didn’t make them pay. Soon, however, all subscribers will be forced to pay full price for HD service.
As frustrating as this price increase may be for Netflix customers, it’s still cheaper than paying for Hulu at $11.99 per month, or HBO Now at $14.99 per month. Starz and Amazon cost $8.99 and $8.33 per month, respectively.
Of course, paying for just one or two streaming services would be more affordable than a traditional monthly cable package. But most people like variety, and are finding themselves paying multiple bills that exceed what they would be paying for a standard cable package. Consider, for instance, a pay-TV subscriber paying full price for cable television, who also purchases Netflix or Hulu on top of what they already receive.
Moving forward, expect to see streaming content prices rise, and consumer frustration mount. For this reason, skinny bundles will prove to be increasingly valuable as customers look to get the most amount of content for the least cost possible.