SVOD Student Discounts: Do They Work to Produce Loyal Customers?

  • Leah Zitter
  • November 19, 2019

As November dribbles into Black Friday, many streaming and TV providers have special discounts aimed at helping students reduce their subscription costs, and championing a marketing engine that can convert students into loyal long-term customers.

Here’s a look at how student discounts on streaming are playing out among the most popular services:

  • Amazon videos and TV:  $6.49 per month + Amazon Prime benefits

Students can sign up for a free six-month trial to Student Prime, after which they´ll be charged $6.49 per month. They get free two-day shipping, access to Prime TV and movies, and general Amazon Prime benefits. 

  • Amazon Music Unlimited: 99 cents per month

Students with Amazon Prime get Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99 a month, along with access to over 50 million songs and thousands of playlists and stations.

  • Spotify Premium for Students: $4.99 per month 

This deal gives students Spotify Premium, ad-supported Hulu (normally $5.99), and Showtime (normally $10.99), all for $4.99/month. 

  • Apple TV Plus: Free with Apple Music subscription

If you sign up for an Apple Music student subscription, you get Apple TV Plus free (normally $4.99 a month). 

  • Audible:  $9.95 per month

Students save 30% on an Audible subscription, making it just $9.95 per month. Student membership includes $10 Amazon credit; one audiobook and two Audible originals per month; audio-guided workouts; and free exchanges.

  • Tidal: 99 cents per month

Students pay $0.99 for Tidal Premium or $1.99 for Tidal HiFi for the first four months, followed by 50% off per month. That’s $4.99 and $9.99 per month, respectively.

  • Pandora: $4.99 per month

Students get Pandora free 60 days, before paying $4.99 per month for Pandora Premium.

  • Sirius XM: $4.00 per month

Students can pay $4.00 per month (normally $12.99) to stream SiriusXM in the car, on their phones, or on smart home devices.

  • YouTube Premium: $6.99 per month

YouTube Premium gives students ad-free YouTube videos and unlimited access to YouTube Music for just $6.99 a month (normally $11.99). They get a free three-month trial.

Do student discounts work?

Identity Marketing site SheerId found that students like being marketed to and relish discounts. They also appreciate being recognized as “poor college students” that are the thought leaders that companies most want to reach.  We found that female Millennials, more than males, evaluate price when choosing streaming platforms and are, therefore, more likely to favor discounts. 

The catch with Student discounts

For all these incentives, SheerId found that only 17% of students used their discounts on online purchases in the last 30 days of their study. The rest of the 77% of students they queried had rejected student discounts for reasons that included one or more of the following:

  • Too complex

While 42% of respondents told SheerID they abandoned the process because it was too complex,75% of students confirmed they would use student discounts more often if they were easier to obtain.

  • A verification process that interprets the shopping experience

SheerID found that 42% of students drop out after they´re asked to retrieve an email or text to complete the process, while another 34% of students complained they completed the process only to be told they didn’t attend the “right school”. Such experiences discouraged them from applying for further student discounts.

  • Poor customer service

In a test conducted in 2011, SheerId found that getting a student discount included being placed on hold after calling a certain number, time-consuming and irrelevant chats with the customer representative and retrieving the edu. code to complete the process.  Most calls left students feeling frustrated and confused. 

Tips for brands on student discounts

Studies suggest that brands price their discount in the 20% to 10% range. With too high a discount, members are tempted to resell their purchases to non-students for profit, get fake student IDs, or rate the price unaffordable. On the other hand, discounts that are too low decrease brand value, thereby also discouraging students from buying those discounts. 

When it comes to promoting these discounts, SheerID reported that 64% of college students said they want to receive emails about student discounts; 55% wanted services to post their discounts on their websites; while 82.5% wanted to be reached through Twitter and Facebook. A further 38% suggested on-campus marketing.


Back in 2016, The University Network (TUN) found that 97% of students said they would try a local business solely because it had a student discount and that they would stay loyal to such a business long after graduation.  The logic is simple: With nearly 21 million U.S. college students and more than 200 million students worldwide, these students and their parents have immense spending power. 

As TUN concludes, “it’s no secret that brands that offer student discounts win.”

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About Leah Zitter

Dr. Leah Zitter has a Ph.D. in Psychology Research with a focus on Behavioral Neuroscience and over a decade of experience as an analyst, covering emerging technology, innovation, and media. She trained as an investigative journalist at the Center for Near East Policy Research, is a researcher at heart and enjoys exploring technology’s impact on culture and society.