October 22, 2021

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Watch Out for Streaming Service Price Hikes in 2021

Photo: Said Marroun (Shutterstock)

Price hikes for streaming TV has become a new holiday tradition, as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu have increased their subscription prices ahead of 2021. For that reason, year-end is a good time to confirm how much you’re paying for subscriptions, and cancel those that you’re barely using.

Recent TV streaming price hikes 

Netflix increased the price of its popular, standard plan (1080p and two simultaneous streams), from $12.99 per month to $13.99 per month. Netflix’s premium plan (4K video and four simultaneous streams), increased from $15.99 to $17.99 per month. These changes are in effect for both new and old subscribers. The basic plan, which offers SD streaming and just a single stream, remained unchanged at $8.99 per month.

Disney+ announced in December that it’s increasing its monthly subscription price by one dollar, to $7.99 per month, and its yearly subscription goes up by ten dollars, to $79.99. The price change is effective March 26, 2020, so you could still lock in a lower price now.

Hulu has another yearly hike, this time increasing its live TV product, from $54.99 to $64.99 per month. The option to watch without commercials increases from $60.99 to $70.99 per month. Hulu’s VOD-only plans will remain unchanged at $5.99 per month with ads and $11.99 per month for no ads. These changes were effective December 18, for both existing and new subscribers.

Also, earlier in the year, YouTube TV announced a whopping monthly increase of 30%, from $50 to $65, which took effect July 31.

This is in addition to other services you might also have, like:

Time for a streaming TV audit?

All told, these increases will probably only affect your overall streaming bill by a few dollars, even if you have more than one service (the average person has three paid TV subscriptions). Nor does this fact really make the case for getting a traditional cable box, which are still very expensive compared to TV streaming (the average cable bill is $217.42, according to a Decision Data survey).

But these rate increases can add up over time, too, as these services all use “evergreen” automatic payment and yearly renewals via your credit card. If you want to cancel, you have to go out of your way to opt out of renewal, and many people don’t. The danger is that it’s easy to overlook these increases over time—just look at Hulu’s live TV plan, which has gone up by $25 per month in the last few years. That’s a lot of money if you aren’t paying attention to the cost.

If you’re unsure how much you spend on streaming TV, you’ll want to do a subscription audit: scan your credit card bills for subscriptions services, tally the cost, and decide what you want to cancel or keep—for more about subscription audits, read this Lifehacker post.

Since these services seem to increase late in the year, you might want to set up a corresponding annual subscription audit reminder in your calendar—it could be an easy way to save money.

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