Unlike its competitors, Starz has announced a decrease in the cost of its streaming service … but only if you’re willing to pay for an entire year upfront. Word about the decision first surfaced in an email sent to subscribers, and the company has since confirmed its plans to TechCrunch. Of note, it was only a few weeks ago that the company joined Disney+ and others in raising its rates — in that case, its price increased from $8.99 to $9.99 per month.
However, the annual cost for the streaming service will be dropping from $74.99 to $69.99, with new customers paying the lower fee starting today and existing annual customers getting a cost adjustment added to their next bill. Though it may sound unusual to decrease the cost of one plan right after increasing the cost of another, the move could pay off for Starz: while it’s only giving up five bucks per year per annual customer, it may be enough to incentivize more people to shell out for an entire 12 months upfront.
Streaming is getting more expensive
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Though this price drop is nothing to complain about, it doesn’t do much to address the overall upward trend in the industry, which has seen several major streaming services — the latest of which is Disney+ — increase their monthly and/or annual rates. Some companies are attempting to soften the blow by offering plans that come with a low monthly price but require the subscriber to see ad breaks. That’s a business plan Hulu has long embraced, but it’s a newer arrival on platforms like Netflix, which charges only $6.99 per month in the U.S. for its With Ads plan, but a whopping $15.99 per month for the Standard no-ads plan.
The increased costs combined with the highly fragmented nature of the present-day streaming market has left many consumers frustrated, with some saying they’re paying as much for multiple streaming services as they used to pay for cable or satellite — and for most, that eliminates the entire reason they cut the cord to start with. While some consumers reduce the financial burden by splitting the costs with friends or family, that likely won’t be a widespread option much longer. Netflix has already started its crackdown on password sharing, and during its August 2023 earnings call, Disney said it will explore similar restrictions for its own streaming service.