$117.22 a month. The approximate cost if you subscribe to all major streaming services that will be available this year alongside an average cable internet subscription.
More out of nothing but curiosity, I wanted to determine the cost of each individual streaming service if one were to subscribe to the major services, and compare that with the average cost of normal cable service.
Before I go on, I want to fully confess my cord-cutting nature, and as someone who hasn’t paid for cable in over three years. I’m not trying to pitch any cable services nor am I trying to preach from the mountains about how great cord cutting is. This is just more for fun and is not intended to speak to a specific viewing preference. With that said though, I actually was surprised to find that if someone signed up for almost every major streaming service, it still is less or about the same as the cost of monthly television subscriptions through most cable providers. I guess the biggest cost for most television is in live sports though, where streaming services haven’t quite hit the mark consistently yet (MLB and NCAA tend to be pretty good, but other game passes get a bit more expensive or require further subscriptions. Apple TV’s live sports reach is still TBD but promising).
So to start us out, we’ll go with the most obvious one. With 35% of US homes subscribed to Netflix, it’s safe to assume when people ditch cable, one of their first subscriptions is to Netflix. We’re up to $8.99 a month.
But Netflix has its own shortfalls, especially when it comes to wanting recent TV. Thankfully, Hulu does a pretty good job of keeping up to date with the most recent episodes of currently airing shows. The commercials can be a little peskier, but Hulu is also stuck with the bill for more expensive content. At $7.99 a month, it still seems like a no-brainer. We’re up to $16.98 a month.
HBO just recently announced a new streaming service HBO Now. There is no way we’re going another year missing out on all the people at work talking about Game of Thrones. Not to mention access to all other shows and monthly movie library. $15 a month doesn’t seem too bad. We’re up to $31.98 a month.
Amazon Instant Video next? The great thing about Instant Video is that it comes alongside a subscription to Amazon Prime, a free two-day shipping service. While I personally don’t order much from Amazon, it still seems worth it, especially with high quality original shows like Transparent. $99 a year, or $8.25 a month. We’re now up to $40.23 a month.
Got a kid? For the sake of this exercise, let’s say sure. Noggin offers preschool-age children with streaming content, not including current Nickelodeon shows. But for $5.99 a month to keep the young ones entertained, sign us up! $47.22 a month
Click to enlarge (image courtesy WSJ)
Oh, great news, Apple just announced plans to take on cable television directly with Apple TV! Surely this will close the loop on a lot of other great content that might not make it to the above streaming services, especially as it plans to offer the ability to stream at least some live sports. But $30-40 a month still seems pretty steep right? Doesn’t matter, live sports is a game changer. Let’s assume $30 and call it good. We’re at $77.22 a month now.
Include the average price of broadband internet at around $40 a month, and your total bill for an extremely broad net of streaming entertainment is now at $117.22 a month for it all.
The average cable television/internet consumer is paying at least $100 a month for the combined services, with a decent percentage ending up closer to $150. So while the benefits of paying one monthly subscription might have merit, the ability to quickly modulate what specific services you want to include on a monthly basis becomes quite potent.
It will be interesting as more and more services release, and especially as individual channels announce their own streaming services (all the major networks have their own at the moment as they tweak their pricing structure, most currently cost between $3-10 a month) if consumers will be OK managing all these individual services. The inconvenience greatly increases every time your bank sends you a new credit card having to remember seven different logins, changing the card seven different times, etc.