In its infancy, streaming services marketed themselves as the best way to save money to watch your favorite shows. The space began by offering loads of content for significantly less, with no contracts. As streaming has matured, pricing has increased and more platforms have entered the space.
Sadly, this has made it more challenging for people to watch what they want. In a quickly shifting landscape it’s vital to stay in the know to save money. Here are ten things you must know about streaming in 2024.
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New Seasons Are Just Now Beginning
The actors’ and writers’ strikes lasted roughly five months last summer and fall. That overlapped with normal filming patterns of shows that release new seasons in the fall. Thus, fans were left without new content.
Many series were delayed to begin right around the Super Bowl. With that happening on Sunday, you’re likely seeing ads promoting new seasons. Unfortunately, many series had to cut short their normal seasons so don’t expect it to be a typical season of shows.
It’s Going to Be More Expensive to Stream Shows
Streaming services can make money in two key ways – subscriptions and advertising revenue. It’s also expensive to create content.
Most services implement price increases at least once annually.
More Ads Are Coming
Streaming platforms love ads as they make them significant cash. In fact, some services give you a better deal if you sign up for an ad-supported plan.
With most platforms pushing ad-supported plans, they’re going to become more prevalent. Furthermore, the amount of ads has space to grow as they pale in comparison to linear TV.
Live Sports Are Getting More Difficult to Watch
Live sports is what we watch most as Americans. Streaming services know this. However, it also means more services are angling to get their piece of the sports pie.
That means it’s going to become more difficult to get all of your sports in one place. While there are no contracts yet, it makes it a challenge for someone who follows sports.
Bundles Are Going to Come Back
Cable companies love bundles. All signs point to them coming to streaming as well. For example, Verizon is offering a deal for customers to get Netflix and Max together.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Contracts May Come to Streaming
The ability to cancel when you want has long been a staple of streaming services. That could change in time. DIRECTV STREAM recently made waves by announcing a contract-like approach.
While you can still get the service without a contract, there is no price guarantee. Other media companies will be watching how it plays out.
Free Apps Are Going to Become More Popular
Free streaming services are a terrific way to watch classic TV shows and movies. You do have to deal with ads, but it’s free.
Tubi, for example, has over 75 million monthly users. Reports indicate it, combined with several other free apps, ranks behind only six paid apps in terms of usage.
Live TV Rates Will Rival Cable
Before streaming became prominent it used to be that you needed access to live TV for everything. That is simply no longer the case. Most network shows stream the day after they air. You can even get some local news stations on numerous free streaming apps.
While live TV streaming services are a terrific replacement to cable, they’ve become too expensive. Most start at a minimum of $70 per month. Those rates will only continue to increase. This will eradicate savings for some subscribers bent on keeping live TV.
If you can forego live TV, you can still enjoy a nice savings vs. cable.
Consolidation is Coming
The golden age of streaming is over. As we enter this new phase, we’re going to see one thing begin. That is consolidation.
It may not happen for a year or two, but mergers will happen. We’re already seeing companies combine their multiple apps into one. Hulu and Disney+ combining and Showtime moving to Paramount+ is another.
Having the Right Mindset is Key
Like anything in life, mindset is key. You can’t use a set-it-and-forget-it approach and hope to save money. We’re still in a contract-free environment.
Binge on the shows you want to watch, then cancel the service and move on to another. Obviously, the fewer paid apps you use, the better.
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I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.