With the arrival of online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, consumers have the option to watch movies, television shows and even live events without having to pay for a cable television service. This is an exciting prospect for many prospect for many Singaporeans. But how much could you really save by "cutting the cord"?
Streaming Services Give Consumers Alternatives to Cable Television
Across the world streaming services have become an increasingly common form of entertainment, while cable TV has become less popular in some places. For example, from 2015 to 2017 alone, the number of paid television subscribers in Singapore decreased by 115,000, a 12% drop. This was likely influenced by the introduction of streaming services, such as Netflix, which launched in 190 countries including Singapore at the start of 2016.
What Do Streaming Services Offer and How Much Cheaper Are They?
The streaming services available in Singapore offer a wide range of movies and television shows. For example, Netflix has 2,984 movies and 1,431 shows available to viewers in Singapore, including Black Mirror, Stranger Things and House of Cards. Other platforms make it possible for you to follow your favorite sports clubs or keep up with local and international news. These offerings are clearly attractive to individuals who want to watch their entertainment at their own convenience, rather than watching based on the scheduling of live television. In fact, cable providers have also begun offering streaming options to their customers.
Some of these services are free and others about S$5 to S$25 monthly in Singapore. With that said, many of these streaming platforms offer premium services for a few more dollars per month, which allow for multiple individuals to use the same account simultaneously. We found that the basic level plans tend to cost approximately S$5-$15 per month, as shown in the chart above. It is also worth mentioning that many of these services offer promotional deals for new customers, so you may be able to obtain even better monthly rates if you are new to these providers. Finally, if you are considering the idea of subscribing to one of these services, we recommend that you take advantage of the free trial periods that most of these services offer.
Comparatively, cable television rates tend to be more expensive. While cable TV prices in Singapore are often lumped in with internet service and can vary greatly in price based on the number of channels offered, estimates suggest that cable packages alone typically cost anywhere from S$25 to S$80 per month. Therefore, it is possible that you could cut your annual cable bill by a significant margin if your cable bill is on the higher end of that range. With that said, this decision ultimately depends on your willingness to migrate from your current cable television offerings to online streaming services.
Don't Forget Additional Costs of Switching to Streaming
Many streaming services work seamlessly through smart TVs or laptops. However, those without a compatible television may prefer to purchase a streaming device such as the Google Chromecast or Apple TV. These devices cost S$65 and S$228, respectively. Therefore, it is essential to factor in these expenses when considering making the jump from cable. For example, if you have a very inexpensive cable bill you may end up paying more per month once you factor in the cost of streaming services and devices.
Other Ways to Trim Your Monthly Subscription Bills
Another simple way to reduce your monthly home entertainment bills is to optimise your credit card usage. For example, some credit cards offer benefits to consumers that use their cards for recurring monthly payments such as cable, mobile, or utility bills (or even insurance premiums). In particular, some cards offer as much as 5% in cashback on your recurring cable TV, mobile and internet bills each month, which can result in a decent amount of savings over the course of a few years. If you are spending S$100 per month for cable and internet, this comes out to S$60 in annual savings.