Are Streaming Services Worth the Price?
By Taye Johnson
If you’re anything like me, you are always looking for ways to get more bang for your buck, and due to inflation, more students are considering ways to do just that, especially when it comes to their entertainment. Yet streaming services have been a consistent expense for students: on average, 83 percent of consumers in the U.S. are using a streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, the former being the leading subscription provider in the country, with over 70 million users. Meanwhile, the costs keep going up.
Netflix’s premium plan, for example, has increased from $15.99 per month in January 2019 to $19.99 per month in November 2022. That’s prompting consumers to take a hard look at the value. A recent study by Deloitte, featured in Business Insider, showed that 40 percent of respondents canceled a paid entertainment subscription within the past six months due to the increases. In that same survey, 24 percent of customers reactivated their plans within six months. So consumers see the value in streaming services even if they initially canceled their subscription. They return at some point.
That’s because despite the price increases, students are still tuning into Netflix to watch their favorite shows. This begs the question: Is the Netflix library of content influencing students’ decision to keep their subscription plans? In my opinion, the content library heavily influences why a person would purchase a paid subscription. For me, it was beneficial to preview multiple shows before purchasing, and this seems to have resonated with others as well.
Some say that TV programming is becoming obsolete. I personally enjoy watching historical YouTube channels in my spare time. However, as a researcher, my passion for learning keeps me tied to any digital media that sparks my creativity. Therefore, I am willing to invest in any platform with an extensive documentary archive.
With streaming services appealing to students with their always-on-demand content, some students may share a similar outlook. As on-demand videos have become more popular, the price of subscription plans have risen to cover the cost of production. Popularity increases the price of goods and services, like supply and demand.
Michael Peters, a graduate educational technology major, uses streaming services to avoid spending money on cable. “I have never had cable since I moved out of my parent’s house in 2010,” he said. “I have used streaming services like Netflix and Hulu since then.”
Peters also shared his thoughts on the price increases. “The increase in price for streaming plus the amount of content out there is not sustainable for one person,” he said. “Bundles might be the way to go with streamers like my Hulu and Disney combo. My $95 bill for the streamers I use most often is well worth it. However, these prices are up from around $70 just a few years ago.”
Ultimately, the decision to maintain a paid streaming service plan varies for each student. Some students may choose to keep a paid streaming service plan based on their personal preference and if they can afford it, but others may choose not to because of the cost or if they are already satisfied with free options.