Amazon Prime Introduces Additional Charges for High-Quality Content Access

By Consultants Review Team Tuesday, 13 February 2024

In a bid to bolster revenue and expand its subscriber base, major streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney, and Amazon Prime are implementing various alterations to their services. Among these changes are initiatives to curb password sharing and the introduction of premium charges for ad-free viewing. Notably, Amazon Prime has recently made adjustments to its standard service, removing features such as Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound from its offerings. Instead, users are now required to pay extra to access high-quality audio and video streaming.

Amazon has officially confirmed the inclusion of advertisements in its paid subscription tiers while simultaneously eliminating high-quality audio and video options. Users can now opt to pay an additional $2.99 per month on top of their existing Amazon Prime subscription to regain access to premium quality content and remove ads. Katie Barker, a spokesperson for Amazon, clarified to The Verge that the company deliberately excluded "Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities" from the ad-supported option, making them exclusive to the ad-free tier for relevant titles.

Initial reports of these changes were surfaced by 4KFilme, who noted that content on their Sony, LG, and Samsung smart TVs was now displayed in HDR10 with Dolby Digital 5.1, lacking the higher-fidelity options previously available through Amazon Prime.

While the impact of these price adjustments will soon be felt by users in India, the current pricing structure for streaming services in the country varies. Amazon Prime memberships in India are available at discounted rates, including an offer price of Rs 1499 per year, Rs 299 per month, or Rs 599 for 3 months, depending on eligibility. Additionally, users can opt for the Prime Lite plan at Rs 799 per year, subject to eligibility criteria.

Netflix offers various subscription plans in India, including a Mobile plan for Rs 149 per month, a Basic plan for Rs 199 per month, a Standard plan for Rs 499 per month, and a Premium plan for Rs 649 per month. The Standard plan allows streaming on up to two devices simultaneously in Full HD 1080p quality, while the Premium plan enables viewing on up to four devices concurrently.

It is worth noting that pricing structures for Netflix and Amazon may evolve overtime and may differ across regions. For instance, the Amazon Prime Lite subscription is exclusive to India, while Netflix's mobile plans were initially tailored for the Indian market. In other countries, users typically only have access to the Basic plan, which may be phased out to encourage users to opt for higher-tier subscriptions. Consequently, adjustments to pricing strategies or alternative approaches may be forthcoming from these platforms.

Meanwhile, Disney is following suit by implementing changes to its policies. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in August 2023 that Disney+ would begin limiting password sharing starting in 2024, with the new policy expected to take effect in March 2024. Disney's chief financial officer, Hugh Johnston, indicated that the platform would redirect users found to be improperly sharing passwords or using unauthorized login credentials to sign up for their own Disney+ subscription. The new policy may also involve analyzing account usage to ensure compliance.

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