All Those Streaming Subscription Services Are Starting to Add Up—Here’s How Much They Cost

published Jun 27, 2019
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Credit: Kath Nash

It was bound to happen at some point. After years of how-tos for the cord-cutting generation unwilling to spend well over $100 a month for a cable and internet package, when they could pay for internet plus a streaming service subscription and have all the content they wanted for less money, there’s been a shift in the discussion.

We’ve moved away from how to cut the cord, and instead are left to wonder if it’s worth it in the first place. In the beginning it was easy: Choose Netflix or Hulu or both and call it a day. But ditching cable for streaming-only has become both more complicated and more expensive as more options pop up on whatever device you’re using these days.

The reasoning is two-fold: First, everyone is getting into the streaming business. After watching their own programming help services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime succeed, companies like Disney and WarnerMedia want in. Are you watching “Moana” and other Pixar movies on repeat over on Netflix? Sorry, come this fall, you’ll need a Disney+ subscription to figure out how far you’ll go.

Companies will be pulling their content from other services to fill up their own streaming sites (remember all the hullabaloo over Netflix possibly losing “Friends?” That’s what we’re talking about here), while brands like Hulu and Netflix will focus less on acquisitions and more on original content (a shift that has already begun to take place).

Credit: Allyson Riggs/Courtesy of Hulu
Aidy Bryant in Hulu's "Shrill"

The other reason complicating decisions when it comes to streaming is that not only are there more streaming services offered, but everyone is also getting into the original content game. These days there are can’t miss original series and movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and CBS All-Access, and this fall you’ll be able to add Disney+, who have announced original series for both Marvel and Star Wars fans, as well as AppleTV+, who will be bringing you originals from the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Oprah.

In his recent article for The Atlantic regarding the announcement of media conglomerate WarnerMedia preparing to enter the streaming business, David Sims warned that we’re about to enter “a time when people will be paying six or seven different monthly fees, if not more, to keep abreast of pop culture.” Even if you keep your tried and true cable subscription to get all the broadcast and cable programs you want, you’ll still be missing out on streaming-only originals.

How much you’re spending on subscriptions is really a matter of preference. What can and can’t you live without? Do you need episodes of current ABC TV shows the day after they air, like you can get on Hulu? Are you addicted to shows like “Stranger Things,” “Dead to Me,” and “The Crown” and therefore have pledged a life of allegiance to Netflix? Is Diane Lockhart your one, true queen who you will gladly pay a monthly fee for to see her on “The Good Fight” on CBS All-Access? Are you addicted to the best in British TV shows and cannot live a life without AcornTV or BritBox? Did you cut the cord but still want access to all things HBO?

Listen, we get it. To help you get an estimate as to how much you’ll be spending each month on all the subscription services you need to keep your content-loving heart happy, we’ve put together a list of fees for some of the most popular streaming services these days. Don’t forget that when you add it all up, you also need to add in your monthly fee for internet. You may not need a cable package to stream all the content you want, but you definitely need the internet.


  • With ads: $5.99/month
  • Without ads: $11.99/month
  • Hulu Live TV: $44.99/month


  • The Basic Plan (SD streaming on one screen):  $8.99/month
  • The Standard Plan (HD streaming on two screens): $11.99
  • The Premium Plan (Ultra HD streaming on four screens): $15.99

Amazon Prime

Your Amazon Prime membership will get you lots of goodies (free two-day shipping, yay!), but it’s also how you gain access to free television and movie content, including Amazon Originals.

  • Amazon Prime membership cost $119/year, which breaks down to about $9.92/month.


  • Either on its own or as an addition to your Amazon Prime or Hulu memberships: $14.99/month


  • Either on its own or as an addition to your Amazon Prime or Hulu memberships: $8.99/month

CBS All-Access

  • Limited Commercials Plan: $5.99/month
  • Commercial Free Plan – 9.99/month

Acorn TV

  • Monthly Membership: $5.99/month
  • Yearly Membership: $59.99/year


  • Either on its own or as an addition to your Amazon Prime membership: $6.99/month


  • Coming Fall 2019: $6.99/month or $70/year

So, are you spending more than you would for cable? Rates vary by area and by provider, but USA Today reported in 2017 that the average cable bill is $85, while it’s $100 for satellite service.