Subscriptions: time to have another look


Editor’s note: I don’t believe in coincidences! First, I published an article about people joining a gym, not using it and forgetting to cancel the payment of the membership fee. Then I made an attempt to cancel out monthly LoveFilm subscription – it didn’t succeed because of bad mobile phone signal in our house but I’ll try again. So, when a press release of the results of a survey funded by blinkbox about the wastefulness of our subscriptions landed in my mailbox I had to publish it. Please read it and have another look at your subscriptions – spending on things that bring us joy and we use is fine; paying for things we forgotten we joined is irresponsibly wasteful.


  • 77% of subscribers wasting money every month
  • Average Brit wastes £14 per month on unused subs and memberships
  • Saving money second only to losing weight as most popular New Year’s Resolution

11th January 2013: Three quarters of us are wasting money on unused subscription services every month, a study has found.

The survey of 2,000 Brits by movie and TV service blinkbox found that 77% are wasting money on subscriptions, with the average Brit spending £14 each month on unused services.

Astonishingly, 15% hadn’t cancelled subscriptions because they ‘couldn’t be bothered’, 13% because they didn’t know if they were using the services enough to get value for money and a further 13% hadn’t cancelled because they had forgotten to cancel services they had signed up for.

Despite this, money is obviously on our minds, with 60% resolving to save more this year. The resolution was second only to the ambition to lose weight, which 61% of the Brits claim they are determined to do in 2013.

Memberships and subscriptions are currently taken up by 53% of the country and are especially popular with younger consumers – more than 60% of people between 18 and 34 subscribe to at least one service.

But does a subscription actually represent good value for money? On the surface, it looks like a no-brainer, with 75% of subscribers claiming to feel confident they are saving money by taking them out. However, for many subscriptions may not offer the financial relief they were expecting.

With 40% subscribing to movie and TV services* where much of the content has been available to stream and download elsewhere earlier and 30% watching less than two movies a month, respondents were asked what it might take to get them to ditch their subs.

An extraordinary 82% of movie and TV service subscribers would consider a pay as you go service if it meant they could access more of the latest movies and TV.

Ben Ayers from blinkbox comments: “If you’re about to take out a subscription service in the hope that it’ll help save you money in 2013, you might fail to keep to your resolution. Ditch the subscription, pay for what you want when you want it and make 2013 the year you bucked the trend.”

4 thoughts on “Subscriptions: time to have another look”

  1. You made me take inventory of my subscriptions, and surprisingly, I only have two! One is for XM radio – I prepay for an entire year (I always threaten to cancel, and they give me 50%+ off); the other is my gym membership, and I’m there 5-6 days a week (not just to exercise, but to take my kids swimming, too!). I’m definitely getting my money’s worth!

  2. Impressive statistics! I pay £12 for TV license which I am pretty sure no one watches at my flat but last time I asked the tenants if I should ditch it and upgrade the internet they said no as they were afraid of a fine, apparently if you still have a TV inside your walls, even though you don’t watch it you can be fined. Apart from that all the rest is canceled, used to have NatGeo as I bought it often when traveling and thought it was a good deal, turns out I forgot to pick it up when I left home and ended up buying other magazines. They are still gathering dust, lesson learned.

  3. This is something I have done with a gym membership years ago. I am very conscious now to cancel things we don’t use. When it comes to television,I’d cancel it all together, but my husband and children may kick me out! 🙂

  4. I did find one redundant subscription as well: LoveFilm. We used to use it a lot (the £9.99 that allows streaming and postal videos) but have not been using the postal option for some time. Not much, but need to look into cancelling it; or changing the arrangement.

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