Americans Spend Almost $1,000 a Year on Streaming Subscriptions






Streaming can be a great way to save money compared to costly cable TV packages. However, a study released by Bango this month found the average U.S. household spends almost $1,000 a year on streaming services.

Bango, which provides software to companies that help them bundle together subscriptions, asked 5,000 people about their streaming habits and found the average person subscribes to 4.5 services ranging from streaming, gaming, news, home tech, and online retailers. The survey found that 10% of participants signed up for more than ten services, while 2% said they had more than 15 accounts. For streaming specifically, 76% said they pay for at least one streaming video-on-demand platform and 13% pay for sports video-on-demand services. Due to recent price hikes roaming across platforms, 57% said they had canceled a subscription, and 67% reported they couldn’t afford all the subscriptions they wanted.

All in all, Bango found people spend an average of $924 a year on subscriptions, or about $77 a month. That’s still less than the average cable TV bill, which is more than $200 a month, a total of $2,640 a year. The study also found that 25% spend $100 a month, while one in twenty pay more than $200 a month – still cheaper than cable TV. Parents tend to spend more on services, averaging $83.40 per month. One in ten parents also sign up for educational subscriptions for their kiddos.

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People previously got around paying for each service by sharing passwords. Bango found that 35% of subscribers now pay for a subscription they got for free through another account before crackdowns started. But with companies like Netflix and Disney+ banning password sharing, many have either stopped using the services or signed up for their own, adding to their monthly entertainment bills. 

While free ad-supported streaming services like Pluto TV, Tubi, and The Roku Channel are available, many other services are padding their revenues by launching ads on previously ad-free subscriptions, like Prime Video. When paid subscriptions bring in ads, 78% of respondents said they strongly object, and 31% have canceled a subscription due to ads. Still, 36% said they upgraded services to avoid ads, while 40% jumped on the chance to save money by downgrading to a cheaper, ad-supported tier.

People can save money through bundling services. Indirect subscriptions let people combine services and sign up for bundle deals. Bango found that 20% of subscribers signed up exclusively through indirect channels, while 34% signed up through another service they already paid for. As for bundles, Bango found that 29% of subscribers get subscriptions free as part of the deal. Still, 80% of people sign up directly for services.

Bango found that 49% of people find it annoying that all their subscriptions can’t be managed in one place, while 44% struggle to keep track of all their memberships. One in four people has a subscription they keep no matter what, called Forever Subscriptions, but prefer flexibility for second choice platforms. People want to be able to tailor their entertainment choices, and 35% said they intend to pause subscriptions and bear that in mind when signing up for a new platform. 

Bango found managing which subscriptions people have, and the number of different bills is confusing. Customers are losing track of all their paid services, resulting in a rise in “Vampire Subscriptions.” These are services people don’t need but forget to cancel, resulting in 36% of respondents paying for something they don’t use.

Subscribers want the best possible deal with the fewest ad interruptions and avoid switching platforms ad nauseam. Bango said 73% of people want a single hub for all subscriptions, and 54% expect it to offer a discount on subscriptions. 

This is again where bundling can be beneficial. About 50% of respondents said they want their mobile providers to offer a single platform for all their subscriptions, and 61% would pay more for the perk.

Some services, like Prime Video, let users sign up for multiple platforms and access all content through the app. Verizon has +play, an online platform to manage all streaming subscriptions in one place. Verizon lets you bundle everything from Max to Apple One services and even Peloton on top of its wireless service.

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