Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett

On reaching my digital subscription limit

This week I had a couple of emails from Sky TV telling me the payment for Sky Sport Now has not gone through.

The wording makes it look as if the non-payment is an accident. That’s not the case. I want to put it on hold for a week or two while I take another look at my total digital subscription spending.

It’s high. Too high. But not out of control.

And it’s not out of control because I make a conscious effort to stay on top of spending on digital subscriptions.

In 2021 my annual Sky Sport Now subscription was $299. Last year I paid $399, but had a $100 rebate making it $299.

This year Sky wants $450. In effect a 50 per cent price increase.

That’s fine. I get my money’s worth from Sky Sports. Each week I watch three, four or more hours of Premier League football. If there is international cricket, football or Rugby I’ll watch that too. At times I also watch baseball and other sports.

So on a dollar per hour basis, $450 a year isn’t bad value.

It’s even better given that I no longer have to subscribe to Spark Sport as well.

Sky doesn’t seem to cover the Champions League and I can never be sure the cricket I want to watch will be shown, but these are not deal breakers.

So why haven’t I renewed yet?

That’s because I’ve set myself a hard limit on digital subscription spending and something needs to drop out before I use the debit card to pay for Sky. There are plenty of candidates. It won’t be long. And I can watch the Ireland - All Blacks game on free-to-air, so that’s not a problem.

What IS a problem is that digital subscription prices are rising faster than general inflation, while my income is not. In fact my income has almost stood still during this recent period of inflation. They may be able to charge more, I can’t.

Sky is up 50 per cent. Streaming TV prices are either up or soon will be. Software subscriptions continue to rise.

I get that companies want to use inflation as a way of squeezing higher profits. It’s not good, but that’s how it is.

Food costs more. Everything costs more. Many of those price rises are unavoidable. Digital subscriptions are, for the most part, optional. They are what economists call ‘discretionary spending’. I’m using my discretion and not spending any more.

I’ve already trimmed a number of digital subscriptions. Next week a couple more come up for renewal, but I won’t be buying them any more. I’ve reached my digital subscription limit.