As prices continue to climb, it feels as though we’ve entered a new chapter of video streaming. One in which many of us will be more selective in what we subscribe to and at what frequency.
Here’s a breakdown of some recent price hikes:
|Service||Monthly Increase||Effective Date|
|Apple TV+||$2 (40%)||10/24/22|
|Hulu Ad-Free||$2 (15%)||10/10/22|
|YouTube Premium Family||$5 (28%)||11/21/22|
Of course, my little table doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, this isn’t the first price hike for Disney+ nor Hulu Ad-Free. Additionally, while it’s “only” a 15% price hike, I already found Hulu Ad-Free to be somewhat costly for its content. On the flip side, while Disney’s sees a more substantial increase the video library continues to expand in meaningful ways.
So I’ve started thinking about what my must-have streaming services are. The ones needed 12 months a year, versus the ones we periodically light up for binging or maybe avoid altogether. Now my must-have services almost assuredly differ from your must-have services and my household remains an ad-free zone, so we can’t partake in newly unveiled, lower-priced Netflix and Disney tiers that offset subscription fees with commercial interruption.
Given my interests and those of my six year old, we need Disney+ content available 365. Beyond the obvious Disney films, and Marvel series, the entire family has enjoyed discovering National Geographic content. Heck, after we binged Secrets of the Tampa Zoo, we followed up with an in-person visit. As a D23 fan club member and former Disney World Annual Pass holder, I was pitched that initial $170 dealio for three years of service way back in 2019. And, now that our time is about up, I’m able to renew at the current $80 annual rate ahead of the early December jump to $110.
My subscription to YouTube Red predates my daughter’s interest, but is necessary now more than ever to insulate us both from incessant ads as we enjoy it independently and together for both entertainment and education. Although I remain grandfathered at $10/mo versus YouTube Premium, I still wish YouTube Music were more compelling and accessible to maximize the subscription. And, while it no longer applies, the paid YouTube downloads perk was invaluable (like this classic) in calming a former fussy toddler on the plane.
As to the other services, we’re largely content to rotate them in and out as needed. Like we’re big into Hulu right now. But by the time we’re caught up, we’ll be ready to roll in HBO Max for the conclusion of White Lotus Season 2. Also, some decisions I get to defer. For example, my wife and mom won’t let me cancel Amazon Prime which makes Prime Video and The Boys effectively free. But we’re also treated to “real” free content as I keep receiving stackable Apple TV+ promos that have us covered through next summer (although For All Mankind has veered right off the rails). Netflix is curious as our bill is largely subsidized by T-Mobile, but even $4.50 out of pocket each month seems excessive given how much we’re (not) currently watching.
What are your must have streaming services?