Whether you use your own account, your family’s or you borrow your friend’s login details, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are more popular than ever. However, for college students, it is expensive to afford multiple or even just one online streaming account. More of these services need to offer student rates if they want to discourage account sharing.
Each platform has a wide variety of entertainment options that can be accessed wherever we may be either by downloading or connecting to Wi-Fi. We can watch on a plane, in the gym or the backseat of a car.
The costs add up fast, though, especially if you want HBO just to watch the latest “Game of Thrones” season, which will cost you an extra $14.99 plus tax per month. But let’s say you are already paying $8.99 a month for Netflix. That would mean paying $23.98 plus tax for one month, which adds up to around $300 a year.
California Lutheran University junior Katrina Delos Reyes said she only uses free trials or she will borrow a friend or family member’s login in order to watch her desired show or film.
“Subscribing to each one is very expensive, especially as college students. Do we really have money to pay for that every month?” Delos Reyes said.
Compared to 10 years ago, we are lucky to have so much choice. But it can be somewhat overwhelming. Each streaming service offers something different with competing award-winning shows and films. It is easy to want to subscribe to all of them.
A lot of people cheat the system of online services by sharing logins with one another. I am guilty of this myself, and know that I’m not the only one. Junior Kari Schmitz said she will ask a friend to watch something with her if they have the right streaming platform because she does not want to pay for it.
The other option is illegal downloading or pirating. According to an article in the Observer, “Game of Thrones” had one billion illegal downloads in 2017. Does this mean streaming services are actually pushing people to pirate?
The basic account at Netflix costs $8.99 and the standard account costs $12.99. Prices were just increased this month by a few dollars for each plan. Amazon Prime costs $12.99 per month, or students can get it for half off. This price also includes other prime benefits such as free delivery and Prime Music.
Hulu is the cheapest of all, at $5.99 for the most basic version, which includes ads. What’s more, it has the option for add-ons such as Cinemax and HBO for an extra price. HBO is the most expensive at $14.99 a month.
Amazon is currently the only streaming service that has a different price for students offering a discount. But by paying for Spotify, students can get Hulu and SHOWTIME for $4.99 a month. However, for those who already have several other streaming services, this adds another monthly payment to the bill.
In November, Disney will be launching its own version called Disney Plus, removing their content from Netflix. This will be available for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year, which would save around $13.
Rather than subscribing to these streaming services that keep stacking up, people like Schmitz have round other alternatives.
“We got a Roku, like a different version of Apple TV, so we are all digital and we don’t pay for cable anymore. When the cable guys were over they said they had been doing the same thing to so many houses,” Schmitz said.
Her parents have switched from cable to streaming like many other households. According to the Observer, as of April, Netflix has 149 million subscribers with 60 million of them in the U.S.
Personally, I use my family’s Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime accounts. If they did not have these accounts, I would not be able to use all of them. I would just have Amazon Prime, as having all three would be too expensive.
“I think the future may be streaming services rather than cable. Not everyone is in the college student demographic. Many can afford it but it would be nice if they were a little cheaper,” Delos Reyes said.
I would have thought more streaming services would have taken the opportunity to create student prices to discourage sharing of accounts, but with Netflix raising their prices for this month, I think we cannot expect this anytime soon.