Do you still pay for a cable/satellite TV service? Or, have you switched to a streaming service? Personally, the only person I know with traditional cable and no Netflix subscription is my grandma, and I’m pretty sure that’s because of her need to watch curling competitions. On the flip side, quite a few of my peers have started to add additional streaming subscriptions on top of Netflix (the OG). Obviously, no single platform has everything you want to watch (and yes, we’re all mad at you, NBC, for taking away The Office), but at what point does the cost of multiple streaming services add up to the same cost we used to pay for cable or satellite?

In the beginning, Netflix offered a way out from under the thumb of expensive cable TV providers. It was cheap and had a decent range of on-demand content. Soon after, other services offering a similar experience began cropping up with their own variety of content. The newest, and seemingly very welcome, addition being Disney + which offers all the Disney movies and Family Channel TV shows my generation grew up with. Easy sell from a nostalgia standpoint for just $7 USD a month. But what do all these services add up to? Of the most popular platforms, basic HBO GO comes in at $15 per month, followed by Netflix and Amazon Prime at $9, Disney + at $7, with Hulu at $6. These are all the monthly costs for the basic platforms with some offering add-on packages for an addition fee (sound familiar?). Comparatively, cable and satellite TV costs the average subscriber around $80-100 per month. That means with just the basic packages for the five services above, you’re looking at $46 per month.

Obviously, streaming services are still a less expensive alternative to cable depending on what you want to watch, and you can’t beat on-demand in terms of convenience. As the market becomes diluted with more companies claiming shows and movies for their own platforms, consumers keep having to add subscriptions to continue to watch their favorites. At what point will the total of all these streaming services catch up to what we were paying before making the switch?

Perri Read, Junior Consultant