I've been using streaming TV services for a very long time – Netflix says I've been a subscriber since 2012 – and over the years the number of services I subscribe to has grown ever longer. I now have subs to Netflix, Apple TV+, Now TV, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ too, and I reckon if I press the wrong button on my Samsung TV remote I'd probably end up subscribing to a few more too.
Having so many streaming subscriptions doesn't make sense financially, not least because I simply don't have time to watch them all. So something's got to go. But which one?
The TV services I've got but don't pay for
If I paid for Apple TV+ (£4.99 a month) I'd dump it in a heartbeat: after watching the Beastie Boys and Billie Eilish documentaries and falling asleep in front of the Bruce Springsteen one, I've seen absolutely everything on Apple TV+ I want to watch. But luckily I don't pay for it: I got a year's free subscription with new Apple hardware, and when that lapses Apple TV is (an unwanted) part of my Apple One subscription. So the only thing getting rid of Apple TV+ would do is give me room for one more icon on my phone's Home Screen.
I'd argue I don't pay for Prime Video (£5.99 a month) either. It's there because I have a £7.99 Amazon Prime membership, which I took out to get free next-day delivery. I do watch the odd thing – The Boys was fun, as was Bosch – but if it weren't part of my Prime membership I'd bin it and resubscribe when the next season of Good Omens became available.
The TV services I have to keep
My eldest and I are working our way through Breaking Bad and soon, Better Call Saul (I've seen them both but they're new to them); that alone justifies the £13.99 Premium HD Netflix subscription as we watch multiple episodes a week, and there's a new season of BCS due next month. So that subscription is safe.
Annoyingly so is my £7.99 Disney+ sub, which I took out during the first lockdown when my kids' schools were closed. Then it was a lifeline, endless Pixar movies and Phineas and Ferb episodes on tap, but now we barely use it: the last thing I watched with the kids was before Christmas. However, my eldest has decided to get into Star Wars and its spin-offs just in time for the annual Disney+ renewal, so it looks like I'm stuck with that for another year. I suppose that's good news for my kids, as Disney's moving most of its properties away from rival streaming services so the choice on Disney+ is going to get even bigger.
The subscription that I've just cancelled
I cancelled my subscription to Now TV (£9.99 for the entertainment – no movies – option and another £5 for full HD) last night. I'd actually forgotten I hadn't done that already: I subscribed to watch the final series of Italian crime drama Gomorrah (brilliant, as was the season prequel The Immortal) and the viral hit Yellowjackets, which was tons of fun. But there's nothing else I want to watch, and nothing the kids particularly want to see either, so getting rid of Now TV was an easy choice. I'll resubscribe when season 2 of Yellowjackets drops.
Are there any lessons here for others? I think there are. One, don't just assume you've unsubscribed from something; check. And two, if you're thinking about unsubscribing from an annual Disney+ subscription, delete the app from your kids' devices so they can't start watching something three weeks before renewal time.