How to Save Money by ‘Churning’ Your Streaming Services

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Photo: DANIEL CONSTANTE (Shutterstock)

Like most people, you probably subscribe to so many (too many) streaming services—and yet, each one carries a show you’d hate to miss. With price hikes across the board, the cost of keeping up with all your favorite shows and films is getting out of hand, but none of us are going back to traditional cable TV. If you want to save while still watching all your favorites, it’s time to implement the “churn method.”

How to apply the churning method to streaming services

Subscriber churn is a commonly used term—on the other side of the screen. Streaming services use this metric to measure how many users are leaving or unsubscribing from their platform. You can use this method, however, to unsubscribe or pause your streaming service subscription when you know you aren’t going to be using it.

Let’s say there’s a two-month gap between Marvel shows on Disney+ or a 12-month waiting period before Ted Lasso returns to Apple TV+. If you know there’s nothing else you want to watch on those services, you can cancel your subscription until the shows you’re interested in come back.

The goal here is to minimize the money you spend on streaming while, at the same time, maximizing the number of shows and movies you want to watch. But to do so effectively, you need to know exactly what shows you want to watch, and when they’re debuting on which platform.

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How to track what you want to watch

First, look up when a movie or a TV show you want to watch is airing. It’s easy with a movie or a show that drops all episodes at once, as you only need to take note of one day. It gets a bit more complicated with a show that’s airing over multiple weeks. If you want to watch the entire series at once, take note of the start date and the end date. If you’re OK binging it later (and if you can avoid the spoilers), you can subscribe to the streaming service once the season has ended.

Of course, because you’re probably tracking multiple shows over various platforms, you’ll need to keep track of all the dates. You can add it to your calendar app, use Siri or Google Assistant to help keep track, or use a watchlist service or app—something like JustWatch will help you track the release date of movies and TV shows, and you can mark off the content you watch as you progress.

Unsubscribe and resubscribe

Your particular subscribing and unsubscribing dance will depend on what’s on your personal watch list—and how much time you really need to binge the entire new season of Better Call Saul. Use your calendar as a reference and be proactive in unsubscribing. If you’re only going to keep a streaming service for a month, unsubscribe to it immediately. You’ll still have access to the service until your month is over, and it’s one less thing to remember at the end of the billing cycle.

If you plan to subscribe to a service for a couple of months, add a calendar reminder for when you’re supposed to cancel a service (and start a new one).

[CNET]

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