Money Hack: The stream team
Save on streaming by sharing a single account with your family.
One of the biggest complaints about the emergence of streaming exclusives such as Game of Thrones, Twin Peaks and House of Cards is the need to sign up to multiple services just to catch one show. While there's the old trick of taking advantage of each service's free trial to burn through the particular shows not available on your service of choice, that will only get you so far with the limited number of email addresses you have on hand.
That's where this hack comes in.
Split the bill with your family. Family sharing offers you a way to share a single account between yourself and a few family members to lower the monthly access cost of each streaming service.
Australia's two most popular streaming services, Stan and Netflix, offer six and four concurrent streams on one account. Foxtel Now offers two and Amazon Prime Video offers three.
Let's add up the cost of each service to get a total amount for the four mainstream streaming services in Australia.
- Netflix's top-tier plan, which offers both 4K video and four concurrent streams, will set you back $14.99 per month. For more information on Netflix's pricing, check out our guide.
- Stan's premium package allows up to four streams at once and offers its library in high definition or 4K. This will cost you $15 per month. See our guide to Stan for more details.
- The cost of Foxtel Now varies greatly depending on which package you choose. It can cost anywhere between $10 and $104 per month, depending on your interests. For the sake of this article, let's stick with the Game of Thrones standard (the minimum cost to stream Game of Thrones on Foxtel Now). With this approach, Foxtel Now will cost you $15 per month. We've got a breakdown of Foxtel Now's pricing tiers in our guide.
- Amazon Prime Video's price is also tricky to nail down but this is to do with US pricing rather than a baffling number of plan tiers. Amazon charges US$5.99 per month for access to its streaming platform. At the time of writing, that translates to about AU$7.85 per month. See what content Amazon Prime Video has on offer.
All this considered, the monthly price you can expect to pay for an all-inclusive streaming package would be $47.85 per month. To be fair, that's a damn good deal considering members of my family still pay upwards of $100 per month for their archaic Foxtel subscriptions, but that's beside the point.
If you were to split that bill with even one family member, you would be meeting all your entertainment needs for roughly $23.95 per month. Split it between three, $15.95 per month. Between four? $11.96 per month.
It's worth mentioning that, while you can watch two concurrent streams of Foxtel Now at any time, you have to register two specific devices in your Foxtel Now account settings. You can change these registered devices as often as you like, but the change isn't always instant. This could cause some in-house friction when Game of Thrones kicks off. Then again, you could always consider watching Game of Thrones together. You know. Like a nice family. In person.
Wait, is this even legal?
Look, I'm not going to say that this isn't against any of these streaming services' policies. Foxtel seems particularly concerned with ruling over its account sharing policies with an iron fist. But as long as you don't broadcast a paid sports event to the entire nation on Facebook, you should be fine. It's also way too hard for these services to police on such a granular level; not impossible, just not worth anyone's time.
Anyway, it's not like you've pocketed a pair of sunglasses from the petrol station, it's a completely intangible product. Jeez, live a little.
finder money hacks is a bi-weekly roundup of the latest tips and tricks to improve your finances. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new hacks.