How to save money on streaming services
Guest post by The Beau. This is a deep dive into how to save money on streaming services for TV and films, which is a welcome way to trim those bills as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
If you’re a keen TV viewer then you can’t have failed to notice how the whole broadcasting landscape has been changing in the past few years. The days of just plugging an aerial into the back of your big fat telly to receive four (maybe five) channels are gone, now it’s more a case of connecting your flat screen to WiFi and opening an app to stream one of thousands, if not millions, of programmes & movies.
The main UK catch-up apps – BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, My5, UKTV Play, and STV Player – all have the ability to stream content for free (some with ads), but most of the other popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Disney+, Prime, Apple TV+, Paramount+, BT Sport and Discovery+ charge some form of subscription fee. More and more of these apps are appearing as time goes by so it can very quickly become quite costly if you want to have access to them all.
So what’s the best way to get the best value from these apps? Here are a few tips and tricks to keep any money conscious streamer h‘app’y.
Bag a streaming services bundle & save
If you’re a Netflix subscriber and currently pay them directly every month then check to see whether you could save by bundling this in with another service. For example, do you currently get most of your TV from Sky, Virgin or BT? All of them provide the ability to pay for Netflix through their own monthly billing, often with a hefty discount.
If you have Sky Q, Sky Stream or Sky Glass, for example, you can actually get the basic version of Netflix for free with their standard channel packages. Plus, if you want the standard or premium versions of Netflix, you can pay a bit extra and get full HD or UHD picture quality and the ability to view on multiple screens. Currently Netflix Premium costs £8pm on Sky Stream or Glass. If you were to pay Netflix direct it would cost you £15.99pm. The best thing is, you don’t need to watch on the Sky hardware – you can use any Netflix app on any device, and it’ll even keep all your existing viewing history and watchlists.
Sky also offer free access to Discovery+ whilst you subscribe to one of their TV packages. It’s normally £6.99pm for the Entertainment & Sport subscription on Discovery+ so it’s not a bad freebie. You can also get Paramount+ for free if you subscribe to Sky Cinema, another saving of £6.99pm.
More >> Visit Sky TV
BT TV offers similar pricing for Netflix with the Basic version included in many of their TV packages and the option to upgrade to the Standard and Premium tiers for between £4-£9pm. You can also add BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and various NOW TV options to your package, giving you many of the channels available on Sky for a lot less money. You can’t get the premium 4K and HDR features offered by Sky direct, but if these aren’t important to you then it’s worth comparing. The more you add to your bundle, the bigger the savings are likely to be. If you’re tied into a long BT Broadband contract then adding a BT TV package can work out to be good value.
More >> Visit BT TV
If you get your TV service from Virgin Media you can also combine your Netflix bill into your existing monthly payment. Their recently released Virgin Stream box also has a nifty feature whereby any entertainment app subscription you add to your monthly bill will receive a 10% discount. You can add and remove subscriptions to Netflix, BT Sport, Disney+ and Lionsgate+ amongst others, on a month by month basis, so if you want to save money for a few months you can remove some subs completely, then add them back on for a binge watch later in the year, with the bonus 10% discount.
More >> Visit Virgin Media
Mobile phone streaming service perks & offers
It’s not only TV service providers who offer bundle deals on streaming services. If you have a mobile phone contract with the EE network, some of their service plans offer what they call ‘inclusive extras’ as part of your contract. Netflix and BT Sport can be added as one of these extras and come at no extra charge to you. You can pay a bit extra for the premium versions if you like and BT Sport in particular can be very much a bargain if you get it this way – a £5.72 extra charge per month to your EE bill will get you the full BT Sport offering on multiple devices in 4K that would normally cost £25pm.
More >> Visit EE inclusive extras
Vodafone UK also offer the option of getting a free subscription to Amazon Prime Video or YouTube Premium with some of their monthly plans. You may have to lock yourself in to a long 18 or 24 month contract for the best deals, but if it’s a service you use a lot then the savings can be great. Vodafone have also introduced a ‘charge to bill’ option for various entertainment streaming services, meaning you can pay your Netflix, Discovery+, YouTube Premium and Spotify Premium via your mobile bill. They offer deals such as six months of free Discovery+ to tempt you into these offers but you may not end up with much of a discount (if any) on some of them.
More >> Visit Vodafone UK
O2 UK have bolt-ons for some of their monthly mobile plans which can give you up to six months of Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video for free. Be aware that you’ll need to cancel these subscriptions before the free period ends to avoid any ongoing monthly charges.
More >> Visit O2 Extras
If you get your fibre broadband from TalkTalk you can now add Netflix to your bill and get it for less per month. Netflix Premium is just £5pm with them, a saving of £10.99pm.
More >> Visit TalkTalk TV
Should you happen to need a new mobile phone and decide to purchase a Samsung model, there are various ‘boost’ offers whereby you can claim a free six months of Disney+ or four months of free YouTube Premium.
More >> Visit Samsung boost
Discounts & free trials to save on streaming
Many streaming services offer some kind of free trial to give you a whiff of what they have to offer, hoping you’ll get hooked when start watching something and end up subscribing because you haven’t finished the series. It’s a common tactic, particularly with those services who only offer a seven day trial. That’s a lot of binge-watching to do in a week!
If you keep your eyes peeled though, you can sometimes find codes which will give you a whole month free on some services. Paramount+ for example, normally only gives a seven day trial but right now they are promoting the new series Rabbit Hole, and if you sign up as a new user (you can use a new email address if you’ve subscribed before) and input the code RABBITHOLE on the sign-up screen, you get a whole month for free. Be aware that you do need to provide credit or debit card details to sign-up for this service but once you’ve activated your trail you can immediately log back in and cancel the subscription and you’ll never be charged anything. You can still use the service for the month for free, so binge away and try to get through Top Gun: Maverick and five seasons of Yellowstone in that time!
More >> Visit Paramount+ GB
Apple TV+ is one of the more premium streaming services with lots of glossy 4K HDR content which normally costs £6.99pm but you can sign up for a seven day trial free at any time.
More >> Visit Apple TV+
When you purchase any Apple hardware such as an iPhone, iPad, MacBook or Apple TV box you can claim up to three months’ free access to the Apple TV+ service.
Several other companies have partnered with Apple at various points over the past couple of years to offer longer trials too so it’s worth keeping an eye out for them. Currys are offering three months free right now which can be claimed by signing up to their free ‘Perks Club’.
More >> Visit Currys perks club
Sky (yes, them again) have a free six month trial of Apple TV+ on offer if you’re a member of their Sky VIP scheme (which every subscriber is). You just need to claim it via the VIP section of the free MySky app on a mobile device.
More >> Visit Sky VIP
If you have a Barclaycard credit card then check if you are eligible for up to five months of Apple TV+ for free. They’ll send you an email with details of how to redeem.
You can often ‘stack’ these free trials with Apple TV+ and end up with nine months or even a whole year free if you’re clever!
More >> Visit Barclaycard offer
Thanks very much to The Beau for all of his bang-up-to-date money saving tips for all the streaming services, ranging from basic to premium.
Has anything caught your eye? Let me know.
This is great Penny! Thank you to your lovely Beau! I never knew you could switch Netflix payments to so many different other providers. I’ll be looking into this to save some cash.