Streaming services are online platforms that let you watch TV shows, movies, documentaries, and other content on demand. They have changed the way we consume entertainment, giving us more choices, convenience, and control over what we watch, when we watch, and how we watch.
The pandemic has also impacted streaming services, as more people stayed at home and looked for ways to entertain themselves. Streaming services saw a surge in demand and popularity, as well as a rise in competition and innovation.
However, streaming services can also be expensive and overwhelming, especially if you have multiple subscriptions and don’t use them all. If you’re looking for ways to save money on streaming without sacrificing the quality and quantity of your entertainment, here are some tips and tricks to help you out.
The Rise of Streaming Services
Streaming services have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a variety of benefits over traditional TV and cable. Some of the benefits of streaming services are:
- They offer a wide range of content, from original shows and movies to classics and niche genres. You can find something for practically everyone, whether you’re into comedy, drama, horror, action, romance, or anything in between.
- They let you watch content on demand, meaning you can watch what you want, when you want, and how you want. You can binge-watch a whole season in one sitting (in most cases) or watch an episode at a time. You can also pause, rewind, fast-forward, or skip any part of the content.
- They let you watch content on any device, such as your TV, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or gaming console. You can also switch devices seamlessly, and resume watching where you left off.
- They let you customize your viewing experience, such as choosing the quality, language, subtitles, or audio options. You can also create multiple profiles for different users or preferences.
There are different types of streaming services available, depending on your needs and preferences. Some of the common types of streaming services are:
- On-demand streaming services: These are services that let you watch content on demand from a library of titles. Some examples are Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus, and many more.
- Live TV streaming services: These platforms allow you to watch live TV channels over the internet. Examples include YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, Philo TV, and more. These services typically provide a mix of local, national, and international channels, along with features like cloud DVR, on-demand content, and support for multiple streams.
- Sports streaming services: These platforms offer the opportunity to watch live or on-demand sports events and programs. Examples include ESPN Plus, DAZN, F1 TV, NFL Game Pass, NBA League Pass, and more. These services often grant exclusive or premium access to specific sports leagues, teams, or events.
- Music streaming services: These platforms enable you to listen to music online. Examples include Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Pandora, and more. These services typically offer an extensive library of songs, albums, playlists, podcasts, and radio stations, in addition to features like offline listening, personalized recommendations, and social sharing.
Now, shifting our focus to the first two in the post-pandemic era, we’ll uncover some captivating trends that have reshaped the streaming experience.
The Post-Pandemic Streaming Landscape
The pandemic has changed the way we watch TV and movies, as more people stayed at home and looked for ways to entertain themselves. Streaming services saw a surge in demand and popularity during the lockdowns and social distancing measures.
According to a report by Nielsen, the average time spent on streaming services in the US increased by 74% in 2020 compared to 2019. The report also found that streaming accounted for 25% of the total TV time in 2020, up from 19% in 2019.
Some of the trends in streaming consumption post-pandemic are:
- More binge-watching: Binge-watching is the practice of watching multiple episodes or seasons of a show in one sitting. According to Nutrients, the number of participants who binge-watched during the pandemic rose to 33%. The study also shows the number of binge-watching hours increased to near 4 hours.
- More cord-cutting: Cord-cutting is the practice of canceling cable or satellite TV subscriptions and switching to streaming services. According to a report by eMarketer, the number of US pay-TV households declined by 7.5% in 2020, reaching 77.6 million. The report also projected that the number of cord-cutters will reach 46.6 million by 2024.
- More co-viewing: Co-viewing is the practice of watching streaming content with others, either in person or online. According to a survey by Hub Entertainment Research, 60% of US consumers said they co-viewed more often since the pandemic began. The survey also found that co-viewing increased across all age groups, especially among younger viewers.
- More interactive and immersive content: Interactive and immersive content is content that allows viewers to participate in or influence the outcome of the story, such as choosing different paths or endings. Some examples are Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend on Netflix, and #WarGames on Eko. These types of content offer more engagement and personalization for the viewers.
However, streaming services also face some challenges in the post-pandemic world, such as:
- Increasing competition and fragmentation: Streaming services have to compete with each other for viewers’ attention and loyalty, as well as with other forms of entertainment, such as gaming, social media, and podcasts. Streaming services also have to deal with the fragmentation of content, as more studios and networks launch their own streaming platforms and take back their exclusive rights. This means that viewers have to subscribe to more services to access all the content they want, which can lead to subscription fatigue and churn.
- Rising costs and piracy: Streaming services have to invest more in producing and acquiring original and exclusive content, as well as in improving their technology and infrastructure. This can increase their operating costs and affect their profitability. Streaming services also have to cope with the threat of piracy, as more people resort to illegal or unauthorized ways of accessing content, such as torrenting, downloading, or sharing passwords. This can reduce their revenue and customer base.
- Regulatory and legal issues: Streaming services have to comply with various regulations and laws in different markets, such as content licensing, taxation, data privacy, censorship, and antitrust. These can vary from country to country and change over time. Streaming services also have to deal with legal disputes and lawsuits from other parties, such as content creators, distributors, competitors, or consumers. These can affect their reputation and operations.
How to Save Money on Streaming Services
Streaming services can be expensive and overwhelming, especially if you have multiple subscriptions and don’t use them all. However, there are some ways you can save money on streaming without missing out on anything. Here are some tips and tricks you can try:
Compare different streaming services and bundles: Before you subscribe to any streaming service, you should compare different options and see which one offers the best value for your needs and preferences. You should consider factors such as price, content library, quality, features, compatibility, and customer service. You can use websites like Flixed or CordCutting to compare different streaming services and bundles. You can also read reviews and ratings from other users to get their feedback and opinions.
Take advantage of cellphone provider subsidies: Some cellphone providers offer free or discounted subscriptions to popular streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Apple TV Plus, or Paramount Plus. For example, T-Mobile offers Netflix for free or at a discount for some of its plans. Verizon offers Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus for free for some of its plans. Capital One offers a 50% cashback on streaming services for some of its cards. You should check with your cellphone provider and see if they have any deals or offers for streaming services that you can take advantage of.
Cancel or pause the services you don’t need or use frequently: Another way to save money on streaming is to cancel or pause the services you don’t need or use frequently. You can review your current subscriptions and usage and drop the ones that are not worth it or that you don’t watch often. You can always resubscribe when there is new content that interests you. You can use apps or websites like JustWatch or Reelgood to track your shows and subscriptions, and to get notified when new episodes or seasons are available.
Plan your binges and subscribe strategically: You can also save money on streaming by planning your binges and subscribing strategically. Instead of subscribing to multiple services at once, you can rotate them based on your viewing preferences and schedules. You can subscribe to one service at a time, binge-watch the show you want, and then switch to another service. You can also take advantage of free trials, promotions, and discounts offered by different services. You can also use secret codes (Netflix | Firestick) or filters to find hidden gems or niche content on various platforms.
Ditch live TV or use an antenna: Live TV streaming services are often more expensive than on-demand services and may not offer all the channels or features you want. If you don’t watch live TV often, or only watch a few channels, you might want to ditch live TV altogether and save some money. However, if you still want to watch live TV occasionally, especially for sports or news, there are some alternatives that are cheaper or even free. One option is to use an antenna to get free over-the-air (OTA) channels in your area. Another option is to use free or low-cost streaming services that offer live TV, such as Pluto TV or Locast. You can also use a DVR device or service, like the TiVo Stream 4K (buy it here cheaper), to record live TV and watch it later.
Share your subscriptions or passwords with others: Some streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, allow you to create multiple profiles or devices under one account, which you can share with your family or friends. You can also split the cost of a subscription with others or use a password-sharing service like DoNotPay to generate temporary passwords for your guests. However, be aware of the risks and limitations of sharing your accounts, such as security issues, privacy breaches, or service restrictions.
Choose the right plan for your needs and preferences: Most streaming services offer different plans with different prices, features, and quality options. You can save money by choosing a plan that suits your needs, such as ad-supported plans, standard-definition plans, or mobile-only plans. For example, Hulu offers an ad-supported plan for $7.99 a month, which is cheaper than the ad-free plan for $14.99 a month. Netflix offers a standard-definition with ads plan for $6.99, without ads for $15.49 a month, which is cheaper than the 4K+HDR plan for $19.99 a month. Find all plans from Netflix here. For more information, see their help pages.
The Future of Streaming Services
Streaming services are constantly evolving and innovating, as they try to meet the changing needs and preferences of the viewers, as well as to stay ahead of the competition and challenges. Streaming services are likely to offer more content, features, and options in the future, such as:
- More original and exclusive content: Streaming services will continue to invest in producing and acquiring original and exclusive content, as they try to differentiate themselves from other platforms and attract more subscribers. Streaming services will also explore new genres, formats, and themes, as well as collaborate with more creators, celebrities, and influencers.
- More interactive and immersive content: Streaming services will also offer more interactive and immersive content, such as content that allows viewers to participate or influence the outcome of the story, such as choosing different paths or endings. Streaming services will also use technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, or 3D to create more realistic and engaging experiences for the viewers.
- More personalized and customized content: Streaming services will also offer more personalized and customized content, such as content that adapts to the viewers’ preferences, moods, or contexts. Streaming services will also use artificial intelligence, machine learning, or big data to analyze the viewers’ behavior and feedback, and to provide more relevant and tailored recommendations and suggestions.
- More social and communal content: Streaming services will also offer more social and communal content, such as content that allows viewers to watch together with others, either in person or online. Streaming services will also use features like chat, comments, reactions, or polls to enable more interaction and communication among the viewers.
Streaming services are a great way to enjoy your favorite shows, movies, documentaries, and more. They offer a wide range of content, convenience, and control over your viewing experience. They have also adapted to the changing needs and preferences of the viewers during and after the pandemic.
However, streaming services can also be expensive and overwhelming if you don’t manage them well. By following these tips and tricks, you can save money on streaming without missing out on anything. You can compare different streaming services and bundles, take advantage of cellphone provider subsidies, cancel or pause the services you don’t need or use frequently, plan your binges and subscribe strategically, ditch live TV or use an antenna, share your subscriptions or passwords with others, and choose the right plan for your needs and preferences.
I hope this article helped you find some ways to save money on streaming services. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. ▪️
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