Are you spending too much on streaming services? - Today with Claire Byrne
Christmas is a time we all tend to spend binge-watching TV shows and movies. In recent years this has been made easier thanks to the variety of streaming services now available instantly at our fingertips or included in our broadband and TV packages.
However, having multiple streaming subscriptions can prove costly.
Head of Communications here at bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy, appeared on Today with Claire Byrne on RTE. Alongside Ciara O’Brien, Technology and Business Reporter with the Irish Times, he discussed different streaming services and what they will cost you.
You can listen back to the interview above or take a look at the main points discussed below.
Is now the right time to evaluate what streaming services you need?
Ciara: Coming up to Christmas is the right time to see if you can save money on streaming services. During the pandemic, many consumers spent a lot of money on streaming subscriptions to stay entertained. We have to now evaluate whether or not we need them and if we’re getting the most out of them.
Sometimes people sign up and forget about these services and realise months later they haven’t used them. You may sign up to specifically watch something and then you forget it’s there. But the money is still going out of your account.
Daragh: There’s so much choice out there now for consumers and in some ways it’s great, but sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing. Sometimes you can lose sight of what you’ve signed up for and what you’re actually paying for.
As well, a lot of broadband providers include subscription services in their offering. Eir, for example, offers a year free subscription to Amazon Prime Video with a lot of its packages. If you sign up for a new Apple device you’ll get a three months free subscription to Apple TV Plus, its streaming service.
Sometimes you could be getting one of these streaming services by paying for another service, so you could save money that way too.
When these run out, will you be hit with a bill if you don’t unsubscribe?
Daragh: Yes and some of them aren’t cheap. When it was just Netflix and you were paying €7 or €8 a month that was fine. Then suddenly Amazon Prime came along and had some good TV shows. Disney+ is another more recent streaming service and over the next few years, we’ll probably see Hulu and HBO Max.
Do you have all streaming services?
Ciara: We do. We signed up to Disney+ when it launched. It launched at the right time, at the start of the pandemic when we were all trapped at home. However, when Disney+ launched, a lot of its content got pulled off other services. We lost the Disney Channel on TV and the content is now on Disney+.
Daragh: This is a problem that’s only going to get worse over the next few years as more companies start their own streaming services. A good example is HBO Max, which will probably launch in Ireland in about 2 or 3 years time. It will predominantly show HBO shows.
A lot of HBO’s content at the moment is on the Sky Atlantic TV channel, which many would get for free as part of a Sky TV package. In a few years, that deal will run out so if you want to see HBO content such as Succession and the Mare of Easttown, you’ll probably have to sign up to HBO Max.
How many streaming services should people sign up for?
Daragh: You now need to take stock and determine what you want to watch. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone sign up for all streaming services. There are about 7 or 8 paid-for streaming services in Ireland at the moment, and it’s only going to get bigger. For most people, I’d say signing up for 2 or 3 is enough.
There is some duplication of content out there at the moment. With Netflix, the shows available are also on Amazon Prime Video as well, and vice versa. Make sure you’re not watching something on one streaming service when you can get it on another platform you’re already signed up for.
Sometimes we forget that content is still available for free online or on normal TV channels too, like RTE. There’s also the All 4 streaming service from Channel 4, which shows some great content as well. There are other ways to access shows.
How much are the different streaming services?
Daragh: The most popular streaming service is Netflix, which comes in at €7.99 per month for the basic package. Price plans can go all the way up to €17.99, depending on how many people have access to the service. The €17.99 a month package allows four people to access the account at any one time. It’s the most popular streaming service and most listeners probably have an account.
Next up is Amazon Prime Video and most people are paying for the €7.99 package, which also comes with Prime Music and Prime Delivery, which is a priority delivery service on packages into Ireland. That is priced in sterling and you can get just Prime Video for €5.99 a month, but most people would probably opt for the €7.99 package.
Now TV is a bit different. It has been rebranded to Now and it’s part of Sky. They sell membership packages and you can buy a membership for an entertainment package, or a sports package. They start at €15 a month though and there’s often half-price deals, but it’s not cheap. A lot of the content is already available on other services, such as Sky Atlantic.
Apple TV is €4.99 a month. There’s a 7-day free trial if you want to give it a go but at the moment they’re offering a three-month free trial to anyone who gets a new Apple device. It was a year free trial up until recently.
Disney+ is €8.99 a month, so not particularly cheap. They announced a price increase a few months ago and prices did start at €6.99 so that’s gone up significantly in price. Disney+ is still primarily aimed at children for now, but they recently launched a new TV channel called Star as part of it, which is probably aimed at a slightly more adult audience.
Take a look at our definitive guide to streaming platforms in Ireland for a full overview of streaming services available and their prices.
Can you cancel these or are you locked in?
Daragh: With Disney+ you can buy a year’s subscription and save a bit of money. This is the same with Amazon Prime Video. You’ll save yourself around 10-12% on the annual subscription if you pay upfront, but with all of them, you pay by the month and cancel at any time.
Are there still special offers on TV and broadband packages for new customers?
Ciara: If you’re a new customer you can get a basic Sky package for €30 that would usually cost you €43.
If you sign up for bundles, such as those with Virgin Media, you should see what they’re actually paying for. We sign up for our TV and broadband deal and don’t review it again for a few years.
A lot of people now look at their energy provider every year and switch. You should do the same for your broadband and TV. A lot of the time they may bring in faster broadband speeds or a better broadband package that would cost you the same as what you’re currently paying.
Compare broadband deals on bonkers.ie
It’s easy to find the best broadband and TV deal to suit your needs at bonkers.ie.
Use our broadband comparison tool to review all of the options available in your area from Ireland’s main providers. You’ll be able to review what streaming services are available from different providers in just a few clicks.
If you’re thinking about switching to another broadband provider, have a look at some of the most common questions we get asked about the switching process.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when comparing the best broadband deals on the market. Here’s a list of 7 factors to consider when assessing your options.
Let’s hear your thoughts
What streaming services are you signed up for? Do you think you’ll unsubscribe from any? We’d love to hear from you!