The money quote in Variety’s story on Amazon’s decision comes from Tim Hanlon, the CEO of Vertere Group (which soaks up millions of misspent dollars as a “media-industry consultancy”). “The TV industry has really never been able to truly control itself when it comes to aggressive monetization,” says Hanlon. This is true of every corporation operating today. But what we’re seeing now are companies ripping the couch cushions out in search of spare change. The “growth” they seek is, at a certain point, unsustainable. But I guess raising subscription prices is preferable to their other method of manufacturing growth — i.e. firing a bunch of people.
In this specific case, does Prime Video, which possesses possibly the deepest movie library of all the streamers, have enough must-watch original content to keep subscribers who really, truly hate watching commercials? “The Boys” is still going strong and spawning spinoffs, but viewer favorites like “Jack Ryan” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” wrapped up this year.
Consumers will have to make tough choices over the next few months. Amazon might’ve miscalculated. Prime Video might lose subscribers. But here’s the horribly depressing thing: Amazon, unlike the rest of their competition, will barely notice. Late-stage capitalism is a helluva party.