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Opinion: Streaming services are out of control

Mi Nguyen
As streaming services continue to dominate our screens and dictate what media we are exposed to in our daily lives, it’s no wonder that their prices are steadily increasing. From Prime Video to Disney+ and Max, many consumers may find themselves alarmed as their favorite streaming service continues to slowly bring up their prices. Join writer Emilie Huovinen as she discusses the surge in costs.

Streaming services have become cash cows for ad revenue, inflating their prices, drastically increasing ads and overall upsetting not only the viewers, but also the producers who, unbeknownst to the extreme change, did not produce their shows with advertisements (ads) in mind. Price changes and ads are going to lead to the death of most streaming companies, yet they keep raising their subscription prices to earn more money.

On Jan. 24, 2024, users of Prime video were expected to pay an increased value of $2.99 to get rid of ads, a price that was previously included with the $14.99 monthly subscription. If users didn’t have an Amazon Prime membership, they were allowed to pay $8.99 a month for a subscription to Prime Video alone, but the new $2.99 “ad tax” applied to this type of subscription as well. 

The price of streaming services has had sharp increases, especially with premium memberships with the blue bars indicating the original price of sites, the red indicating before quarantine and the yellow indicating the current price. (Emilie Huovinen)

Many platforms such as Netflix, Disney + and Max have already succumbed to the pressure of possibly gaining more money with nearly all sites increasing expenses from their original charge or adding ads to the more affordable options. Streaming service prices and content are rated and compared to one another based on price and the quality of the streaming site. Netflix has had one of the greatest price increases, nearly tripling the price from the original $7.99 to the current $22.99.  Consumers are dealt the choice to either pay more money through the subscription or endure the dreaded commercials. 

The Los Angeles Times blames this price increase on multiple factors, including the pandemic and inflation. Inflation has affected many families when it comes to necessities such as food, gas and rent. Although the effects have been most devastating to low-income households, many others have watched as they had to give up non essentials, including sources of entertainment, in order to afford the necessities. Additionally, the COVID-19 quarantine forced everyone to stay inside, making people more reliant on their televisions for entertainment.

Of the five sites listed on the infographic (referring to the infographic on flow), the total cost equates to $82.95, comparable to the average cost of cable at $83 per month. Although streaming services were originally created to add on the average consumer’s cable plan, they have completely taken over as a competitor or substitution for cable instead. 

There is not much that can be done with the “ad tax” that Amazon Prime members will face, as their main benefit is the “free” and fast delivery service they provide for customers. However, other companies have had patrons try to deal with this problem through password sharing or pirating shows and movies. Companies have responded to this through threatening suspending accounts but with these prices, customers will most likely just find other ways to get around this as well.

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About the Contributors
Emilie Huovinen
Emilie Huovinen, Writer
I write articles not tragedies.
Mi Nguyen
Mi Nguyen, Illustrator
First-year illustrator. Self proclaimed connoisseur of late night reading.

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Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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