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Streaming looking more like cable with price hikes, bundling

Monday

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Streaming services were once seen as the modern alternative to cable. The services were cheaper, ad-free and tailored to specific interests for viewers looking to cut the cord.

But with rising prices and streamers putting their attention to ad-supported tiers, it is getting more difficult to tell the difference between streaming and cable. Some even began calling the streaming industry “Cable 2.0.”

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According to research from the online platform Bango, the average American has 4.5 total subscriptions, including audio, fitness and news apps, as well as these streaming services.

Subscriptions to these streaming platforms cost the average customer in the U.S. $1,000 per year. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported the average cable plan costs around $83 per month, or $996 a year.

Price hikes for streaming seem to be just part of the process nowadays. NBC Universal recently announced a price hike for its Peacock service will go into effect just before this summer’s Paris Olympics.

Analysts at UBS Securities said Netflix users should prepare for another price hike this year following one last October.

Bloomberg reported Warner Bros. Discovery is planning to hike the price of its Max platform soon, as well.

As more media companies look to make a profit on their streaming services — and battle the reigning king of streaming, Netflix — they are turning to each other for help.

Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery announced their Disney+, Hulu and Max streaming services will soon be offered in one bundle.

All the three streamers’ offerings — including content from HBO, HGTV, ABC, CNN and more — will be packaged together. 

Sounds like a cable TV package, doesn’t it?

The bundle will be available in the U.S. starting in the summer, though the streamers have not shared a price yet. There will be versions with ads and without.

The move comes after the announcement of Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox’s joint venture sports streaming service that will launch in the fall.

Another way these streaming platforms are looking to gain subscribers and revenue is by cracking down on password sharing. 

Netflix implemented the practice, which led, in part, to 30 million additional subscribers in 2023. Disney+ is looking to do the same starting in June.

So until cable starts cracking down on passwords like streaming, there is at least one way to tell the two apart. 

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[JACK AYLMER]

STREAMING SERVICES WERE ONCE SEEN AS THE MODERN ALTERNATIVE TO CABLE –

CHEAPER, AD-FREE AND TAILORED TO SPECIFIC INTERESTS FOR VIEWERS LOOKING TO CUT THE CORD.

FORGET PAYING FOR 200 PLUS CHANNELS YOU DON’T WANT.

YOU LIKE FOOD SHOWS? YOU GOT DISCOVERY PLUS.

YOU LIKE LIVE SPORTS? ESPN PLUS.

YOU LIKE BRITISH FARE? THERE’S BRITBOX.

BUT WITH RISING PRICES – AND STREAMERS PUTTING THEIR ATTENTION TO AD-SUPPORTED TIERS – IT’S GETTING MORE DIFFICULT THESE DAYS TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STREAMING AND CABLE. – WITH SOME CALLING THE STREAMING INDUSTRY – CABLE 2 POINT 0.

ACCORDING TO RESEARCH FROM THE ONLINE PLATFORM BANGO –  THE AVERAGE AMERICAN HAS 4 POINT 5 TOTAL SUBSCRIPTIONS – INCLUDING ENTERTAINMENT STREAMING SERVICES.

AND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THESE STREAMING PLATFORMS COST THE AVERAGE CUSTOMER IN THE U.S. ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER YEAR.

WHILE — AS THE FINANCIAL TIMES REPORTS – THE AVERAGE CABLE PLAN – COSTS AROUND 83 DOLLARS PER MONTH – OR 996 DOLLARS A YEAR.

NBC UNIVERSAL ANNOUNCED A PRICE HIKE FOR ITS PEACOCK SERVICE WILL GO INTO EFFECT JUST BEFORE THIS SUMMER’S PARIS OLYMPICS.

ANALYSTS AT UBS SECURITIES SAY NETFLIX USERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR ANOTHER PRICE HIKE THIS YEAR FOLLOWING ONE LAST OCTOBER.

AND BLOOMBERG REPORTS WARNER BROTHERS DISCOVERY IS PLANNING TO HIKE THE PRICE OF ITS DISCOVERY PLUS PLATFORM IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

NOW THE LATEST TERM DISRUPTING THE STREAMING REVOLUTION – BUNDLING.  

AS MORE MEDIA COMPANIES LOOK TO MAKE A PROFIT ON THEIR STREAMING SERVICES – AND BATTLE THE REIGNING KING OF STREAMING – NETFLIX  — THEY ARE TURNING TO EACH OTHER FOR HELP.

DISNEY AND WARNER BROTHERS DISCOVERY ANNOUNCING THEIR DISNEY PLUS, HULU AND MAX STREAMING SERVICES WILL SOON BE OFFERED IN ONE BUNDLE.

ALL THE 3 STREAMERS’ OFFERINGS – INCLUDING CONTENT FROM HBO, HGTV, ABC, CNN, AND MORE – WILL BE PACKAGED TOGETHER. 

SOUNDS LIKE A CABLE TV PACKAGE, DOESN’T IT?

THE BUNDLE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE US STARTING IN THE SUMMER – THOUGH NO PRICE HAS BEEN GIVEN.  AND THERE WILL BE BOTH A VERSION WITH ADS AND WITHOUT.

THIS COMES ON THE HEELS OF DISNEY AND WARNER BROTHERS DISCOVERY’S OTHER JOINT VENTURE – WITH FOX. A SPORTS STREAMING SERVICE THAT WILL LAUNCH IN THE FALL.

IN YET ANOTHER WAY THESE STREAMING PLATFORMS ARE LOOKING TO GAIN SUBSCRIBERS AND REVENUE – CRACKING DOWN ON PASSWORD SHARING. 

NETFLIX HAS DONE IT – LEADING IN PART TO 30 MILLION ADDITIONAL SUBSCRIBERS LAST YEAR. AND DISNEY PLUS IS LOOKING TO DO THE SAME STARTING IN JUNE.

SO UNTIL CABLE STARTS CRACKING DOWN ON PASSWORD SHARING LIKE STREAMING – THERE’S AT LEAST ONE WAY TO TELL THE TWO APART.