If You Use These Cable or Streaming Services, Prepare for Higher Prices on Your Next Bill
Your monthly expenses could see a significant jump thanks to these new rates.
Many of us rely solely on streaming services for our TV needs these days, thanks largely to the ability to watch the shows and movies we love on our own time without having to pay for a bunch of channels we're not watching. But the death of cable has been greatly exaggerated, and those of us who still subscribe aren't ready to cut the cord just yet—especially if it means losing access to live TV. Regardless of your viewing choices, however, you could see higher rates on your next bill. Read on to find more about the cable and streaming services upping their prices.
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Americans love TV, and they pay an awful lot for it.
Cable subscription services aren't cheap, but as Americans watch about three hours of TV every day, they're often considered a necessity. On average, cable TV plans will run you approximately $87 each month, according to CableTV.com, with costs ranging from $20 to $250 each month.
Streaming services, on the other hand, allow you to pick and choose what you want to subscribe to. Individual prices are generally more affordable than cable, but numbers add up quickly when you have more than one. According to a survey conducted by FinanceBuzz, one in four people spend about $75 on streaming services—around $10 shy of the average TV cable package.
Now, those averages may be going up, as certain providers have announced price hikes.
Expect to pay more for your local and regional stations.
If you're a Comcast subscriber, be prepared for a significant increase on your next bill. According to PennLive, the cable provider is initiating a 3.8 percent increase for "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees. Both fees are broken out on your bill and include costs for Comcast to provide your local and regional stations. Exact price changes will depend on the current base rates where you live.
Cable modem rentals are also going up by $1.50, while a remote and TV box is up from $8.50 to $10, according to PennLive and TechHive.
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Comcast attributed the price hike to rising costs of programming.
In a statement to PennLive, Comcast confirmed that broadcast television and sports were "the biggest drivers of increases on customers' bills," as networks and other programmers raise their prices.
"We're continuing to work hard to manage these costs for our customers while investing in our broadband network to provide the best, most reliable Internet service in the country and give our customers more low-cost choices in video and connectivity so they can find a package that fits their lifestyle and budget," the statement reads. "Our national average increase of 3.8% is about half of the most recent rate of inflation."
If you haven't noticed a spike in your monthly bill or automatic payment, be warned that it's coming soon. According to PennLive, new rates are effective as of Dec. 20.
Popular streaming services are also going up in price.
The introduction of Disney+ in late 2019 was a game changer, giving viewers access to movies and content that was previously kept under lock and key in the "Disney Vault." But as of today, Dec. 8, the streaming service is upping its fees, CNET reported. Customers paying $7.99 per month for basic Disney+, which offers ad-free shows and movies, will now have to shell out $11 to avoid ads.
Hulu, which is owned by Disney, will see a $2 bump for ad-free service (now $15), while service with ads is up by $1 (now $8). If you're not willing to pay more, Disney is offering additional options.
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Disney introduced new plans.
If you don't mind a commercial break while streaming, you can stay at the $8 mark you've been paying for Disney+, according to CNET. Want both Disney+ and Hulu? Opt for a new bundle option that gets you both services with ads for $10. Add ESPN+ (also owned by Disney), and get all three with ads for $13.
Those who already have the premium trio bundle (no ads for Hulu and Disney+, but ads for ESPN+), your subscription remains at $20 per month. However, a new "Legacy Disney Bundle" is available for $15, with ads for ESPN+ (Disney doesn't offer an option to avoid them) and Hulu, but not Disney+.
The changes are reportedly being made to encourage customers to sign up for all services rather than just cherry-picking one or two, CNN reported in August. However, the company noted that they want to increase customer options. "We expect the ad tier to be popular, and we expect some people to want to stay with ad-free," Christine McCarthy, chief financial officer for Disney, said on a conference call, per the Associated Press.