The cost of living crisis has left us studying our bank statements for all the direct debits that come out to see how much they are going up. Energy bills may be the biggest thing to worry about but there are also the mounting costs of TV subscription services to bear in mind.
Netflix has announced it will be increasing its prices by 17 per cent, another price hike for UK households on top of the already skyrocketing costs of gas, electricity, food, petrol and other essentials. The streaming platform, which had around 17 million subscribers in the UK as of late 2021 according to Statista, has confirmed its basic and standard plans will increase by £1 a month to £6.99 and £10.99 respectively, while the premium tier will go up by £2 to £15.99 from May 12, 2022 for UK and Ireland subscribers.
The company, which hosts major shows like Bridgerton, The Crown and Stranger Things, said in an email to customers that the hike was to “allow us to deliver even more value for your membership – with stories that lift you up, move you or simply make your day a bit better.” But with so many online streaming services on the market, would you be better off elsewhere?
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To find out, the experts at money.co.uk have put together a guide to help you see if the service you’re using truly offers value for money. Here’s how Netflix’s mid-level subscription prices will stack up against rival services.
Subscriptions to streaming services in the UK have continued to rise in the past year, with Ofcom reporting that almost half of Brits (49 per cent) now consider streaming services their main way of watching TV and film. The experts at money.co.uk worked out the average cost per hour of content watched on each of the most popular streaming services.
They took the average amount of time per week spent on watching online streaming services, which came in at one hour and five minutes per day according to Ofcom, and then crunched the numbers to calculate how much each streaming service costs to watch per hour of content. So how does Netflix compare to its rivals using this measure?
- Netflix: 34p an hour
- Amazon Prime Video: 25p an hour
- Now TV: 31p an hour
- Disney Plus: 25p an hour
- Apple TV Plus: 15p an hour
- BritBox: 18p an hour
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “Streaming services hit a record high during lockdown, with 12 million of us signing up for a new service in 2020. However, given the rising cost of living it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re spending our cash wisely. Streaming services across the board are raising their subscription fees, so it’s worth knowing all the tips and tricks of streaming to get the most out of your money.
“The best way to try a new platform for the first time is by signing up for free, prior to making a financial commitment. Luckily for you, most services offer free trials to lure in new subscribers, and you can usually cancel anytime. What’s more, some phone or broadband contracts offer extended free trials to new customers. For example, O2 customers can get six months free of Disney Plus, while most new Apple products come with three months’ free Apple TV.
“When it comes to reduced rates, some streaming platforms will offer a discount if you try to cancel your subscription, even if it’s just a free trial. So it’s worth going through the motions of cancelling to see what kind of reduction you might be offered. Unless you’re streaming 24/7 there’s no need to sign up for every service, so consider which ones you’re using on a day-to-day basis. If you’re binge-watching a long-running series, you probably won’t be using your other platforms as much and you can cancel them until they’re needed again.
Price per month
Amazon Prime Video
“Before signing up to a service, figure out what you want from it. For example, if you want to watch Bridgerton, then you’ll have to subscribe to Netflix as that’s the only platform streaming the series. But if live sport is more up your street, then forget Netflix and look at Amazon Prime. You should also consider how much variety you want. Even though Netflix is the most expensive service, it has an enormous range with thousands of options for viewers of every age group. This means, depending on your personal circumstances, it may actually offer the best value for money.
“At the other end of the scale is Apple TV and BritBox, the cheapest services available. While they won’t hit you as hard financially, the variety of movies and TV shows they offer is far smaller than the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. So before putting any money down, you should go through each service’s library and establish where your money is best spent.
“It’s also worth remembering that some services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Disney Plus, are increasingly launching original programming. This offers them an additional edge over the competition, as their libraries are likely to be updated with exciting new content more frequently.”
How do the services compare?
- Price £10.99 a month, £6.99 for basic (new prices)
- Catalogue size: Over 5,000 movies and more than 2,000 TV shows
- This one is the priciest but also has the most to watch including such hits as Bridgerton, Stranger Things and The Crown. Search the options and you’ll find loads of other stuff including nature documentaries, LGBTQ+ movies/series and much more.
- Price: £7.99 a month
- Catalogue size: Over 1,300 movies and more than 500 TV shows
- If you’re into the Marvel superhero movies and series, or the Star Wars franchise, this will be essential
Amazon Prime Video
- Price: £7.99 a month with an Amazon Prime membership
- Catalogue size: Thousands of movies and TV shows, with even more on the way, but many require extra money to watch
Apple TV +
- Price: £4.99 a month or free for three months with a new iPhone, iPad, Mac computer or Apple TV
- Catalogue size: More than 60 TV shows and 25 movies, with more launching every month
- Price: £9.99 a month, £9.99 for Now TV Sky Cinema
- Catalogue size: More than 350 TV shows. Over 1,000 movies with Now TV Sky Cinema
- Price: £5.99 a month
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