ENTERTAINMENT streaming is now seen as a necessity by some consumers, but signing up to multiple services without monitoring your spending can create some hefty household bills.
New research by Beyond Bank Australia has found almost three quarters of households access a regular streaming service, with Foxtel Now, Spotify and Netflix the most popular.
However less than half of consumers budget for the cost, and just 45 per cent know exactly what they are spending, it found.
Streaming is soaring, according to research group Telsyte, which says SVOD (subscription video on demand) services jumped more than 50 per cent in the year to June to nine million. And the number of people using music streaming services rose 16 per cent last year to 7.3 million Australians, it says.
Beyond Bank’s general manager customer experience, Nick May, said streaming was still a relatively new cost and people who set and forget across multiple services could lose control of where their money went.
“More than two thirds of us are spending around 0 and some of us up to 00 a month which may not seem like a big outlay but it’s this sort of regular expenditure that really adds up,” he said.
Beyond Bank found that 23 per cent of consumers now saw streaming services as a necessity.
Among them is Kosti Kaptsis, 28, who said he “cannot live without music on demand” but still saw video streaming as luxury.
Mr Kaptsis subscribes to several streaming services and spends about 5 a month. “I like the fact that I have access to so much content on demand and in such an easily accessible format. My only negative would be the cost involved but at this stage that is not an issue,” he said.
Personal budgeting specialist David Rankin said entertainment streaming had replaced previous household costs such as renting videos and DVDs or buying CDs and was now “part of modern life”.
“If you play your cards right you can budget for these transactions. I would recommend having all streaming services direct-debited from the same place, preferably a bank account, so you have got a good overview,” he said.
“With multiple providers and multiple bank accounts, if you’re not careful you get lost in a spaghetti western of all these cards and service providers.
“The biggest danger is not the cost — it’s the lack of overview and control.”