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The Cost Of Streaming: Netflix Premium Now Costs More Than Sling TV Did In 2018


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If you ever needed an indication that the cost of streaming has gotten expensive (not that you do), the recent Netflix Premium price increase has pushed the cost of a Netflix plan beyond the price of a 2018 live TV package from Sling TV.

Live TV is notorious for being expensive, so the fact that a Netflix plan costs as much as it now does, is a sign of just how much streaming has increased in price in the past five years alone.

Back in 2018, three years after Sling TV launched, the cost of an Orange live TV plan was just $20 a month, $3 cheaper than the new cost of Netflix Premium. For that price, subscribers got access to around 30 live TV channels, including AMC, CNN, Disney, ESPN, History, Lifetime, and more.

To be fair, Sling TV did increase the price of its Orange base plan in June of 2018. While this did result in Orange then becoming more expensive ($25) than Netflix Premium is now, the point still stands that you could have signed up to a live TV package in early 2018 for less than you’d pay for Netflix Premium today.

In fact, the cost of Netflix Premium is now getting close to the 2023 price of Philo, a live TV streaming service that currently costs $25 a month and offers access to more than 70 channels, including A&E, AMC, Discovery, History, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, Paramount, and more.

In reality, Netflix hasn’t increased any more than any of the live TV streaming services. For example, the Netflix Premium plan was priced at $13.99 a month back in 2018, meaning it has increased $9 (around 40%) in the past five years. In contrast, Sling TV has doubled in price over the same period.

It’s not just Sling TV either, with many of the other live TV streaming services also close to doubling in cost since 2018, typically increasing from $40 a month to $70+ a month.

Still, should anyone really be paying in excess of $20 a month just for Netflix? While the answer to that does depend on the needs and budget of an individual home, it seems hard to justify paying this much for a single streaming service, especially one that doesn’t offer access to live TV … yet.

With that all said, the one benefit of services like Netflix over live TV services, is the ability to subscribe to a budget-minded subscription tier. For example, Netflix’s $6.99 Standard with ads plan is actually $1 cheaper than Netflix’s Basic plan was back in 2018. While Standard with ads does include ads, it is still possible for you to sign up for Netflix at a cheaper price today than you could have in 2018.

That’s definitely not something you can say about any of the live TV streaming services.

John Finn


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