Tips and tricks: How to save money on your streaming bill

movie TV streaming popcorn

We live in a streaming world where your favourite movies and TV shows can be watched from the comfort of your couch. And there are many streaming services to choose from. The question is, how do you enjoy them without ending up with a huge streaming bill?

Though still missing out on big players like Disney+ and HBO Max, South Africa has a host of different streaming platforms that offer a variety of subscription plans.

You can sign up for accounts on Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV. Later this year, UK streaming platform BritBox will also be available locally.

Check out the monthly subscription prices for some of the major streaming services available in South Africa:

  • Netflix: R99 to R169
  • Showmax: R99 to R449
  • Amazon Prime Video: $5.99 (approx. R88)
  • Apple TV: R84.99 (subscription requires Apple device)

To help you avoid those bills, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for you and others to get the most out of streaming…

Make use of the free trials

Many streaming platforms offer potential customers a chance to watch stuff before having to pay up. Showmax offers a free trial of fourteen days while Prime Video will give you seven. Sadly, Netflix stopped offering a free trial to South Africans in 2020.

Use these trials to explore a streaming service’s content before committing to a paid subscription.

If there’s only a specific movie or show you want to watch, then the trial lets you get a peek at it without any cost.

But remember, if you’re not sticking around for a paid subscription, you must log in and manually cancel it. Most subscriptions will activate or renew themselves automatically once they have your payment details.

Watch out for contract/product deals

Some companies in South Africa, most notably mobile network providers, offer to tie in subscription plans with product purchases.

For example, Showmax offers Vodacom and MTN customers an add-on account for R49 per month. Apple will include a one-year subscription to Apple TV when you buy an iPhone or one of their other products.

Vodacom also has a partnership with Amazon Prime Video for customers.

Keep an eye out for deals such as these to grab a streaming account at a discounted rate.

A quick cancellation

Streaming platforms will offer an instant cancellation process for those who want to close their accounts. A streaming bill can grow quickly if multiple payments are being made each month.

Cancel ones that no longer grab your attention or offer content that grabs your interest.

You can also choose to only subscribe to one service at a time, depending on what you want to watch that month. Then, switch to another service the next month and catch up on all the content on that side.

You don’t have to subscribe to all the services simultaneously, especially during seasonal lulls when your favourite shows aren’t releasing new episodes or seasons.

Sharing is caring

Streaming platforms usually offer a subscription based on how many people are in a household or want to watch. Netflix’s premium account offers streaming on up to four devices. Prime Video offers three simultaneous streams, while Showmax offers two.

Make arrangements with your family or close friends to split the bill.

That way, you’re paying less thanks to a little teamwork and coordination.

Feature image: Unsplash/JESHOOTS.COM

Read more: Netflix partners with SA Tourism to promote country

Sam Spiller, Staff Writer


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