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How the cost of living has changed the way we stream television shows

Inflation has hit a 32-year high and the price of streaming services are on the up.

With Neon recently announcing price hikes, Netflix putting in place charges to limit access and the general cost of living rising. we asked five Kiwis how costs are affecting their streaming habits.

Has the cost of living changed the way you watch TV?


Has the cost of living changed the way you watch TV?

‘I’m not paying more than $50’

When 32-year-old single mother Ayla Brook was setting up her budget for the tail-end of the 2022, she noticed the price she was paying for streaming services had increased significantly over the years.

“They started off so cheap,” she said.

“I was looking over previous budgets and years ago Netflix… it was less than $10.”

Now she is paying roughly $50 a month for Netflix, Neon and Disney+. Brook took to Facebook last week in the hope of finding friends to share accounts with her.

“It’s a lot of money when I watch Shortland Street and Love Island and that’s it,” she said.

Brook has been organizing splitting costs of Netflix and Disney+ with friends. But Netflix is ​​looking at cutting access across households and adding a “buy a home” feature, which Brook said would prompt her to ditch the service.

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“I’m not paying more than $50,” she said.

“When you’re not using it that much it does seem expensive. [If prices keep going up] I’ll probably pick one.”

Cutting expenses while building a first home

stuff reporter Brianna McIlraith, 26, is in the process of building a first home with her partner and the couple are saving as much as they can.

One of the first things to go was Amazon Prime. She kept Disney+ which she pays $18.58 a month for. It has more shows she enjoys, and McIlraith shares her account of her with family and friends, so it gets plenty of use.

Brianna McIlraith is saving as much as possible while building her first home.


Brianna McIlraith is saving as much as possible while building her first home.

“I share Netflix and Neon with my family, but my parents have canceled their Netflix subscription because it was continuing to go up in price,” she said.

“My sister and I are considering going in halves on a Netflix subscription for our families.”

‘The content is getting worse and the prices are getting higher’

For 23-year-old mechanic Travis Ivan Rusling, the increasing cost of streaming services resulted in him ditching everything. He had Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ but felt the “content is getting worse and the prices are getting higher”.

“I got rid of it all. [Netflix] premium is not cheap. A few years ago it was [much less].”

While he is not sure exactly how much he was paying a month, he guessed it was around $50. Now he and his partner share a Netflix and Neon account.

Travis Ivan Rusling has ditched all his streaming services, and shares his partner's subscriptions.


Travis Ivan Rusling has ditched all his streaming services, and shares his partner’s subscriptions.

“Which is a pain in the ass if someone’s watching something [when you want to],” he said.

As for missing out on shows on other services, he said the couple often do. But it is not worth the added expenditure.

“You miss out on what you want to watch half the time, but beggars can’t be choosers.”

‘Something had to go’

Wellington-based bus driver Paul Smith, 53, canned two of his streaming service subscriptions recently due to “general cost of living”.

Smith pays about $23 per month for the premium 4k subscription “which I hardly ever bloody use, but it was about $15 a couple of years ago”.

“With the cost of petrol and groceries and everything, something had to go. I liked having them all, but I’m not too bothered really.”

When it came to pick what to keep and ditch it simply came down to loyalty. Smith had a Netflix subscription for longer than the other two so that’s the one that stayed.

If a show comes along that Smith wants to watch on a service he doesn’t have “I’d just sign up for a month and hopefully get around to binge-watching it [within the month],” he said.

I get my parents’ streaming services

Alice Loretto shares her parents' streaming subscriptions with her two flatmates.


Alice Loretto shares her parents’ streaming subscriptions with her two flatmates.

For 21-year old Auckland student, Alice Loretto, her flat of three get their streaming services direct from the bank of Alice’s Mum and Dad.

Her parents have Netflix, Disney+ and Neon, and the flat share those accounts to keep costs down.

“We have two device limits, so sometimes my mum might be watching something and people in the living room are watching, so I can’t watch,” she said.

But it works for the flat, who likely would not have all the services if they had to pay for their own accounts.

“I don’t think we’d be keen to pay that much,” she said.

“We’d definitely get Netflix. Maybe Disney+ but definitely not the other two.”

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