Are you suffering from ‘streaming fatigue?’ Take our test to find out

Sarah Harris
Sarah Harris
May 17, 2019

Ready for the season three premiere of Stranger Things this summer? Make sure your Netflix account is ready to go. Or what about the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale coming out in June? You’ll need Hulu for that. And if you want to catch up on Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before its third season premieres this winter, don’t forget to pay your Amazon Prime bills!

If reading that gave you a headache, you may be falling ill to subscription fatigue. The term was only coined within the last few months, but the affliction has likely been plaguing streamers for much longer. It became most apparent after the release of the 13th edition of Deloitte’s Digital media trends survey.

The survey focused on collecting information about media consumerism trends in the U.S. Participants’ responses revealed widespread frustration at the “need to cobble together multiple services” to catch all their favorite entertainment. In fact, 47 percent of respondents felt frustrated by the increasing number of subscription services they needed to watch their favorite entertainment. This is how the term “subscription fatigue” came to be.

Based on this information, many Americans may be victim to subscription fatigue, but they might not realize it. With help from the Deloitte survey results, we laid out the symptoms, side effects and treatment options, so you can cure your subscription affliction.

The symptoms

  • You crave exclusive content. According to the Deloitte study, in 2018, 57% of paid streaming video users said they subscribed to watch original content. It makes sense ― some of today’s most awarded shows and movies are original productions exclusive to individual subscription services. Consider this:
    • Game of Thrones (only available through an HBO subscription via cable package or streaming service) has won 239 awards, including 47 Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
    • Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (only available through an Amazing Prime streaming subscription) has won 33 awards, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
    • The Crown (only available through a Netflix streaming subscription) has won 28 awards, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
    • The Handmaid’s Tale (only available through a Hulu streaming subscription) has won 34 awards, including 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

With that knowledge, how could anyone blame you for wanting multiple subscription services?

  • Your shows are disappearing. One of the top consumer frustrations highlighted in the Deloitte survey was the disappearance of shows from streaming sites. As contracts change and new streaming platforms are created, shows that were previously viewable on a platform vanish into thin air. If you were only halfway through a series before the show was removed, well, tough luck.
  • You can’t handle the options. Sometimes it feels good to have choices ― other times, they can seem overwhelming. According to the Deloitte survey, 48 percent of people say it’s harder to find their desired content when it’s spread across multiple services. 43 percent reported giving up on a search if it took longer than a few minutes. With so many platforms offering thousands of watching options, your simple search for a family flick might feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

The side effects

  • Bigger bills. If you’re paying for several streaming services, your monthly bills likely resemble that of a small cable or satellite TV package. If you’re paying for several streaming services on top of a TV package, you’re probably spending hundreds of dollars per month on entertainment. Consumers’ desire for original, ad-free content comes with a large price tag.
  • Data concerns. The more services you subscribe to, the more you’ll have to give personal and financial information to streaming companies. This leaves you at a higher risk for cybersecurity issues or privacy protection problems. According to a study cited in the Deloitte research, 23 percent of U.S. households experienced cybercrime in 2018 ― that’s almost one in every four!

The treatments

  • Intermittent subscriptions. If you’re only interested in a streaming service for one show or new season, consider cancelling the service after you finish watching. If another season is released later on, you can simply re-subscribe. Most streaming services run on a month-by-month billing cycle, allowing audiences to keep their subscriptions flexible.
  • Cold-turkey cancellations. One possible solution to your subscription fatigue (and high bills) may be simply cancelling the services that mean the least to you. If you subscribed to a service just to catch one popular movie, but don’t plan on watching its other content, go ahead and cancel it.
  • Rentals and single-show purchases. Blockbuster may be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean entertainment rentals are dead. If you want to watch something specific (like a movie or docuseries) try renting or purchasing it via iTunes or Amazon rather than paying for a subscription service. This could be a big financial benefit for those who rarely watch TV, but still want access to the occasional movie.

Sadly, with the inception of several new streaming platforms (including Disney’s, Apple’s, and NBC’s), it’s only going to get harder to find all your favorite shows under one umbrella. However, with all of these platforms working to produce their own original content, we should have plenty of great new series and films to enjoy in the near future.

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