It was only a matter of time really. NowTV has long changed extra to remove adverts from their streaming offering. This year both Netflix and Disney+ have introduced ‘cheaper’ tiers with adverts in. And now, Amazon Prime Video is going down the same path.
While they won’t be increasing their main charges, as of early 2024 they will be charging extra to avoid adverts in the United States, the UK, Germany and Canada. Other countries will follow later as Amazon endeavours to claw back more revenue from their streaming service.
It’s not yet know how this will work for Amazon’s sub-channels that you already pay extra for like Paramount+ and Shudder.
In 2019, I wrote about the Balkanisation of SVOD, a timer when the number of streaming TV providers was growing but hadn’t reached the levels we have now. Prices were rising, but it hadn’t turned into the massive cash-grab that’s going on now. I wrote:
I suspect that more and more digital providers will flood the market place, until the whole thing collapses under the weight of piracy and increased apathy. Up until some bright spark with enough industry clout offers a combined interface with a more sensible pricing model.
It still looks like that’s where we’re heading. Piracy was barely talked about any more for a while, but it now gets mentioned in despatches more and more often. Every price increase, every diminishing of service, every show or movie that’s scrapped from the catalogues or unavailable in offline media, everything is beginning to push people towards illicit means.
Inevitably, the industry will realise this is happening and do what they’ve always done: Lobby governments and telecoms providers to clamp down on piracy, instead of realising they’ve once more killed the golden goose.