The UK market for broadband-based video streaming services, which is already under pressure from the ever-increasing problem of content fragmentation across too many platforms, looks set to suffer another blow today after Amazon announced that prices for their Prime Video would be hiked for the first time since 2014.
In a new letter, which has been issued this week by Amazon, the company revealed that the price of a monthly Prime membership will increase from £7.99 to £8.99 from 15th September 2022, while the price of annual membership will go from £79 to £95.
In fairness, Amazon’s Prime service isn’t just about streaming as customers also benefit from free deliveries on many orders, as well as access to more e-books, limited music streaming and special product sale events, among various other things. Put another way, if you order a lot of tat from Amazon then it may even save you money across the course of a year.
On the other hand, the company’s recent move to invest in premium live TV sport content is something that has divided opinion. TV sport is an expensive gamble and not everybody wants to see it, which is why other operators tend to put it into a separate package. But Amazon prefers to make everybody share the burden of its risk, whether you want to watch sport or not.
Copy of Amazon’s Customer Email
Dear Prime Member,
Thank you for being a valued member of Amazon Prime. We are writing to you about an upcoming change to your membership.
As of 15 September 2022, the price of the monthly Prime membership will increase from £7.99 to £8.99, and the price of the annual Prime membership will increase from £79 to £95. The new price will apply to renewals starting 15 September 2022. You can view your next renewal date, manage, or cancel your membership by visiting your account.
We continue to focus on making Prime even more valuable for members. This is the first time we have changed the price of Prime in the UK since 2014. During this time, we have significantly increased the number of products available with unlimited, fast Prime delivery; added and expanded ultra-fast fresh grocery delivery; and added more high-quality digital entertainment, including TV, movies, music, games, and books. Prime Video in particular has increased the number of TV series and movies on offer, including Amazon Originals, as well as live sports coverage, such as the Premier League and Autumn Nations Series.
Your Amazon Prime Team
Despite all the competition between so many platforms, the price we all pay for such services has continued to rise rather than fall, as providers invest in more content to broaden their appeal. But the combination of content fragmentation (i.e. you need to spend big to access all the content you want via lots of providers) and ever rising prices is, during a stark cost-of-living crisis, starting to hurt.
According to a recent study from Kantar, some 1.51 million services were cancelled in the first quarter of 2022 as UK consumers moved to cut their spending. But many have tended to retain their Amazon Prime service, due in part to its wider benefits and the stability of price, yet today’s announcement may change that.
A number of streaming platforms are also looking to introduce advertising in the future (NOW TV already does this), which will probably add to the level of churn, no matter how positively they try to sell it. Historically, advertising is often sold as a way of keeping prices low, but what often ends up happening is that prices continue to rise at more or less the same pace they always did before.