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Annual Plans: Video Subscriptions You Can Save On With Yearly Payments

Annual plans can be a good way to save on the cost of streaming services, but yearly subscriptions may not be the best option for everyone.

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A number of video streaming service subscriptions can be paid for annually. Choosing to pay on a yearly basis not only makes it easier to manage individual subscriptions, but it can also result in a lower cost as well. However, in spite of the various benefits on offer with an annual plan, some consumers may find that a monthly subscription is the best option for their individual and household’s needs.

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As streaming has become more common, the choice of services available to consumers has increased dramatically. This also increases the chances of a individual or household subscribing to multiple services at the same time, with all of those individual costs combining into a much higher price. While most individuals and households probably don’t require more than a few subscriptions at the same time, the combined monthly cost can still be higher than what many want to, or can, pay.

This is where an annual plan can help. Not all streaming services offer the option to sign up on a yearly basis, and this is especially the case with live TV services which tend to focus more on singly monthly bills. However, there are still plenty of popular subscription services that do include the option to pay once for the year and be done. In most cases, the price of the annual plan will be much cheaper than paying the monthly cost for 12 consecutive months.

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It is not realistic to list every streaming service that offers an annual subscription here, as there are a lot of streaming services these days. However, the list below highlights many of the most popular services that currently do offer an annual plan, along with the actual yearly cost of the subscription.

ServiceAnnual price
Acorn TV$69.99
ALLBLK$49.99
AMC+$83.88
Apple TV+$49.99
BritBox$69.99
Curiosity Stream$19.99
DAZN$99.99
Discovery+$69.99
Disney+$79.99
ESPN+$69.99
Hallmark Movies Now$59.99
HBO Max$99.99/$149.99
History Vault$49.99
Hulu$69.99
Lifetime Movie Club$39.99
Paramount+$49.99/$99.99
Peacock$49.99/$99.99
Prime Video$139 (free with Prime membership)
Showtime$99.99
Shudder$56.99

To provide an example of the difference, HBO Max charges $9.99 per month for its ad-supported plan and $14.99 per month for its ad-free monthly plan. Based on the annual prices listed above, consumers opting for an annual HBO Max plan can expect to save around 16% on average over the year. Alternatively, the saving can be viewed as getting two months of either the ad-free or ad-supported plan for free each year. A similar level of savings are on offer with most of the services listed above, and in some cases, consumers may find the savings offered by an individual service are far greater. For example, while DAZN charges $19.99 per month, the yearly subscription costs $99.99 resulting in a saving of $139 over the course of 12 months – the equivalent to seven months for free.

Is an annual subscription the right option?

Clearly, it can be beneficial to sign up for a annual subscription. The savings alone is one of the best reasons to consider a yearly plan, and if paying for multiple subscriptions at the same time, then the combined savings can be even greater. Not to mention, if spreading the payments out so that the next annual payment for one service is taken in a different month to others, this can further help to manage the cost. For example, if subscribing to as many as twelve services at the same time, then only paying for one each month might work out to be less than the combined payments for all of the services when paying monthly. In this case, not only is the monthly outlay lower, but the cost of each service is also cheaper to begin with.

That said, there are reasons to consider not signing up for an annual subscription. Although the cost tends to be lower for these plans, that’s because the consumer is committing to the service for a much longer period of time. If a consumer is unsure that a particularly service offers enough content to keep them interested and using the service for a full year, then it may be better and cheaper to just subscribe and pay monthly. If a consumer finds they are not using the service, a monthly plan makes it easy to cancel the subscription and have only paid for the months that they were using the service. In contrast, canceling an annual plan won’t actually cancel the subscription immediately. As the user has paid for a full year in advance, the subscription will remain active until the one-year anniversary comes around. It is only the next payment that’s canceled at the time, not the subscription. This also means that there are typically no refunds available for subscriptions that are canceled early.

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Another reason to consider sticking with monthly plans, for now at least, is that these services are always looking for new subscribers and this means that a yearly subscription is not the only way to save. Many popular live TV and subscription services routinely offer discounts on plans to bring new customers in. Sometimes these deals are on the standard monthly plan price, or for signing up for a slightly longer period such as quarterly. Sometimes there are also deals on yearly plans which may be worth holding out for. For example, Discovery+ doesn’t actively promote an annual subscription, but does offer one for $69.99 for the year, and has offered the same yearly plan for as low as $49.99 in the past. Holding out for one of these deals may end up resulting in a cheaper price or more features, even if wanting to switch to a yearly subscription.

Annual plans summary

An annual video subscription can be a great way to save on the cost of streaming. These plans are typically offered at a lower rate than when paying monthly for twelve months. If subscribing to multiple services at the same time, then utilizing the various annual plans could help to substantially lower the overall yearly cost of streaming services. Although these annual payments are also much higher than the monthly cost, the actual monthly outlay could be much lower if subscribing to multiple services and strategically setting up the annual plan billing dates.

In spite of the main benefits with annual plans, they may not suit everyone. After all, an annual subscription is a fairly long commitment to a service and consumers should avoid making those commitments unless they are sure that they plan to use the streaming service for the entire year. Not to mention, many popular streaming services routinely offer deals and discounts throughout the year, which could result in an even cheaper subscription than an annual plan.

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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