It’s no surprise that people want to know how to save on streaming services. Prices for the biggest streaming platforms have been on the rise recently and more and more companies have entered the market. And since streaming has become more common, deals have become rarer and some of the biggest names in the business have stopped offering free trials, so you can’t even test what’s on offer before paying some serious cash.
All of these changes mean that keeping up with the latest releases can be a very difficult — and very expensive — task. If you’re looking for some tips on how to save some money while making sure you get to watch some of the must-see releases, we’ve got a round-up of how to find streaming deals on offer.
How to save on streaming
Rotate and switch your services. With so many streaming choices, it’s tempting to load up on subscriptions and leave them running — but the cost can quickly add up. If you already have a few streaming services, consider canceling the ones that you use the least. You can always re-subscribe when there's a new show or movie that you want to watch.
Sharing subscriptions within your household is another way to save. Some services make this easier than others — Hulu (which will cost $7.99 per month with ads and $17.99 per month without ads beginning Oct. 12) is particularly family-and-friends friendly and, even though Netflix has cracked down on password-sharing, the $19.99 per month Netflix premium plan allows four people who live in the same household to watch at the same time. And if you really want to extend your account to your relative across the county you can still do that, but it'll cost you now — a rather pricey $7.99 for each "extra member" a month.
Try pay-per-view. If you want access to a single show it may be cheaper than subscribing to a service. For example, a Max ad-free subscription costs $15.99 per month, but one episode of Euphoria on Amazon’s Prime Video costs $2.99 — or $22.09 for the entire season.
Bundling services is another good way to trim costs, especially if you are willing to put up with ads. The Disney Bundle is one of the worst-kept secrets when it comes to saving on streaming. For as little as $12.99 a month, you can get access to the ad-supported tiers of Disney Plus and Hulu and all the sporting action on ESPN Plus ; starting Oct. 12, the bundle of Disney Plus and Hulu without ads and ESPN Plus with ads will be $24.99.
And if you’re not a sports fan, you can save even more money with the $9.99 bundle that gets you just the first two services. If ads are a dealbreaker, you can pay $19.99/month for the ad-free Disney Plus and Hulu plans.
Take advantage of free trials. Over time the number of companies offering free trials has dropped but you can still try before you buy for seven days, with Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus and Hulu (which also gets you a free trial of Max — the new name for the HBO/Discovery streamer.)
Try free streaming services. There are more and more services that offer a wide variety of programming (channels, shows and movies) for free — in exchange for sitting through non-skippable ads. They include Amazon's FreeVee, PlutoTV and The Roku Channel. Find out more in our guide on the best places to watch TV shows and movies online.
Look out for time-limited offers. Typically, some of the best streaming deals are limited-time-only deals that you need to be ready to jump on if you want to take advantage.
We’d suggest keeping an eye out around the Black Friday sales period — in 2023 Black Friday will be on November 24. In previous years, the major players have offered colossal discounts on their streaming services; past deals have included up to 80% off annual plans for Hulu and Max, 50% off annual subscriptions to Paramount Plus, and bargain prices on Prime Video Channels.
Additionally, some providers offer decent discounts as part of the festivities on specific days like National Streaming Day (May 20), Prime Day (July 11 and 12) and Disney Plus Day (2023 date still to be confirmed.)
Subscribe to another service that offers TV streaming perks. There are a number of services that will give you access to a streaming service as an add-on.
- T-Mobile customers on the Go5G Plus plan can get access to Apple TV Plus or a Netflix Basic subscription at no extra cost.
- Walmart Plus — Walmart’s subscription plan — includes a free membership to Paramount Plus (with ads). This means members can enjoy hit movies like Top Gun: Maverick, original dramas like The Offer or immerse themselves in the world of Star Trek, while also making the most of Walmart shopping benefits like free delivery and the use of mobile scan & go in-store. Walmart Plus costs $12.95/month or $98 annually. You can try the service out with a 30-day free trial, too.
- DIRECTV Stream: New customers that sign up for DIRECTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV Now) get Max, along with several other premium streaming channels, free for three months.
- Apple TV Plus: you can get a three-month subscription to Apple TV Plus with the purchase of an eligible Apple device.
Martin is a writer for What To Watch, focusing on guides to streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and HBO Max and news and features on the latest movies and TV shows.
Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.