It’s time to unsubscribe from some streaming services
Use Quibi’s death as an opportunity to reassess your sub status.
Quibi is officially dying. The smartphone-only streaming service raised hundreds of millions of investment dollars and introduced us to a short TV show about a woman with an ill-fated infatuation with her own golden prosthetic arm. But, before the end of this year, Quibi will officially hit the big bin full of retired web services that just couldn’t last.
In a way, it’s a little sad. Quibi had a couple cool ideas, including its Sidecar tech, which let viewers seamlessly switch back and forth between vertical and horizontal orientation. But, its massive content investments and long hype train dug a hole it couldn’t climb out of. Rather than mourn Quibi and its flawed business plan, now is a great time to take a look at the rest of your streaming service subscriptions. The money you spend on them every month can really add up, which hurts when you’re not even watching them.
Maybe you wanted to watch the conclusion of Game of Thrones, so you committed to HBO’s $15 monthly plan, but you’ve hardly used it since then. Or maybe you bought into one of the streaming services like Hulu with a live TV option because you wanted to watch a sporting event or awards show in real-time, but then forgot to cancel it.
As we look back on Quibi, it’s time to pause for a moment and consider all those streaming subscriptions that you’re currently shelling out almost as much cash for as you would for cable. And while you’re considering which ones to cut, keep in mind that it’s OK not to watch everything. You should subscribe to a service because you enjoy the content and want to watch it, not out of some misguided pop culture obligation. Is it weird if you don’t care about Stranger Things, and haven’t even seen it? Nope. It’s also totally fine.
So, here’s a quick reminder of how to unsubscribe from the most popular streaming services, just in case you want to take the extremely easy path for avoiding the “streaming apocalypse.” After all, you might be able to watch whatever you want without having to pay anyway.
Once you’ve watched all the new Star Wars stuff and the good episodes of The Simpsons, you can go to Profile > Account > Billing Details > Cancel account. You can get a seven-day trial for free when you sign up, so if you can crank through all your favorite content in the course of a week, you can jump ship before your first payment.
You can cancel your Hulu subscription by clicking your name in the top right and then hitting the link that says “cancel.” When you do, a page will ask you if you’d rather pause your subscription for anywhere between one and 12 weeks instead of canceling. This method seems particularly likely to let the service kick back in down the road and let you keep paying for it forever.
Also with Hulu, you could consider moving your subscription down to the ad-supported tier, which is only $5.99 as compared to $11.99 for the ad-free version. Sure, it’s only $6 per month and you’ll probably see the same ad for psoriasis medicine 100 times per week, but the point of streaming isn’t always to plow through as much content as humanly possible. At least it doesn’t have to be.
You may not have noticed it, but Netflix got a little pricier back in the early summer. The Ultra HD tier went up to $15.99 from $13.99. Navigating to the settings tab takes you to a page with a clearly-marked “cancel subscription” button. Clicking on it brings you to an intermediary page that allows you to continue with the process (and promises to keep your preferences and profiles around for 10 months if you change your mind) or simply drop your service down to a lower tier.
If you have a fancy TV that supports 4K and HDR, you’re probably better off paying the extra $2 per month for the better picture performance. The top-tier sub also gets you four simultaneous screens for watching as opposed to two, which can make a big difference if you’re subscribing for a family.
There’s a good chance your Amazon Prime Video subscription came as a bundle with the typical Amazon Prime annual purchase, in which case your best bet is to just make sure the auto-renewal is turned off.
What if you signed up through a cell phone carrier or another service?
This is where things get extremely dicey. There are plenty of deals out there that bundle services together. For instance, Verizon subscribers can get a year of free Disney Plus. If you signed up for Sprint at some point, you may get free Hulu with your plan. Or, maybe you used to use a Roku and you signed up for HBO Go as an add-on to your Roku account. Now you’ll have to go through the extra step of detangling those accounts from each other. Sadly, there are too many edge cases to go through them all, but it’s worth going back through your accounts to make sure you’re not paying for something that started off free and then never canceled.
Oh, and while you’re at it, delete most of your apps, too.