Americans already spend $37 per month on streaming. Is there room for more?

Joe Supan
JS
Joe Supan
Jul 31, 2019

According to streaming statistics in a recent report from Deloitte, Americans subscribe to an average of three paid video streaming services.

It’s hard to overstate what a big deal that number is. Just three years ago, nearly half of the country subscribed to only one streaming service, and it was almost always Netflix. Americans are now more comfortable than ever building their own streaming bundle.

Granted, caveats abound. One of those services is usually Prime Video, one of the many ancillary perks of an Amazon Prime subscription. Likewise, Hulu has inflated subscriber numbers with $1/mo. offers and partnerships with Spotify.

According to a new study from The Hollywood Reporter, those three services come out to an average of $37/mo., but consumers say they only want to pay $21/mo. total for all streaming services.

Streaming bundleMonthly cost
Netflix* + Hulu (with ads) + Starz$27.97
Netflix* + Prime Video** + Hulu (with ads)$28.90
Netflix* + Hulu (with ads) + HBO Now$33.97
Netflix* + Prime Video** + Hulu (no ads)$34.90
Netflix* + Prime Video** + HBO Now$37.90

Of course, everyone always wants to pay the lowest price, but it’s still illuminating that there’s virtually no combination of three streaming services that meet that budget. And with more and more companies entering the streaming ring this year, that budget will soon be squeezed even more.

What does this mean for the newcomers?

To stay in the $17 to $27/mo. range that consumers say they’re willing to pay for streaming services, they’ll have to swap out something they already subscribe to in order to add any new ones. Here’s how much upcoming services will likely cost:

ServicePriceRelease
Disney+$6.99/mo.Nov. 12
HBO Max$16-$17 (estimated)Unknown
Apple TV+UnknownFall 2019
NBCUniversalFree to cable/satellite subscribersApril 2020

It’s an increasingly crowded field, and all of them are jockeying for scraps of a streaming budget that is already maxed out. Even with these powerhouses still on the sideline, Netflix is already feeling the impact. The streaming giant lost 130,000 U.S. subscribers in the first quarter of 2019 — the largest decrease it’s faced since 2011.

It remains to be seen which services will prove essential to viewers, but we do have one hint. Streaming statistics in the Deloitte survey showed 57% of streaming users said they subscribed to access original content. For millennials, that number jumped all the way to 71%.

If streaming services want to hold onto Americans’ streaming budget, they’ll have to produce original shows and moves that can’t be found anywhere else.

How do streaming services compare to cable and satellite TV?

Even though Americans are already maxed out when it comes to streaming services, they’re still substantially cheaper than traditional cable and satellite packages, which typically cost around $90/mo. when bundled with internet service. Compare the following five packages:

The Cord CutterThe Sports FanThe MinimalistThe On Demand OnlyThe Traditionalist
Sling Orange ($25/mo.)PlayStation Vue ($55/mo.)TV antenna ($50)Netflix ($13/mo.)Spectrum (TV Select + Internet) ($90/mo.)
TV antenna ($50)High-speed internet* ($60/mo.)Netflix ($13/mo.)Hulu w/ ads ($6/mo.)Fees (up to $260/year)
Netflix ($13/mo.)High-speed internet* ($60/mo.)Amazon Prime Video ($119/year)Netflix ($13/mo.)
Hulu w/ ads ($6/mo.)HBO Now ($15/mo.)
High-speed internet* ($60/mo.)High-speed internet* ($60/mo.)
Year one: $1,298Year one: $1,380Year one: $926Year one: $1,247Year one: $1,496

If you opt for “The Traditionalist” package, which gives you over 125 cable channels and nothing else, you’ll pay up to $1,340 per year. The “On Demand Only” viewer who subscribes to Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and HBO Now and nothing else will pay $93 less over the course of a whole year.

This cost-benefit analysis seems to be shifting towards on-demand streaming services. For the first time ever, more people now subscribe to a streaming service than a traditional cable subscription.

If you’re looking to reign in your monthly TV spending, our experts share everything you need to know in our guide to cutting the cord.

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