Disney+ Hotstar Ads For Subscribers And Amazon’s Rental Model for Subscribers: How Fair Are These Practices? Will This Mark The Downfall Of Two Major OTT Players?

To begin with, first you need to know what Disney+ Hotstar says about the advertising model. To give you a gist of it, they say that their “Mobile, Super and erstwhile VIP plan are Ad supported subscription plans. Users who have subscribed to Premium membership will not get any Ads except with LIVE content such as sports, live shows and certain non-fictional content.”

Let us now quickly have a look at the subscription fees for all the plans they have mentioned so that we get to know how much we are paying for “content with ads.”

Mobile plan is for Rs 499 per year,

Super plan is for Rs 899 per year, and

Premium plan is for Rs. 1499 per year.

When you look at the ad-free section in their plans, for both mobile and super, they have mentioned that it is not ad-free content. So now, whether I pay Rs 499 or Rs 899, I will have to watch ads whether I am watching movies or other shows. 

Coming to the Premium plan, just yesterday I told my sister that let’s move to the Premium plan so that we get access to all the shows and plus, that’s ad-free. Today, I read that premium plans also come with conditions. There is content that will not run without ads. 

Now my point here is, if you are earning from ads and that is the model you want to adopt, like MX Player why not offer free content? And if you are charging a fee to the subscribers, why bombard them with ads? 

I have stopped watching Disney + Hotstar shows to be honest. I recently watched Taaza Khabar and the way they bombarded me with those cheap Bingo ads, I gave up on them. It would have been fine if they would have shown us two to three ads during one web series. We could have looked at it as an intermission. But they literally bombard you with ads. It hinders your experience. I genuinely wonder if filmmakers should choose such a platform to stream their movies or series. It will, undoubtedly, affect the reviews – in a negative way. Why was theatre and TV releases different? Within a few months, movies always made a television premiere. Then why did people prefer theatres? Because, EXPERIENCE MATTERS! Watching a movie or a web series in one go leaves an impact. Ads ruin it all! 

I am not the only one saying this. Here’s what Disney+ Hotstar subscribers are discussing on a Twitter thread: 

This really makes me think if Disney + Hostar will survive if they continue with this model. OTT has given people a lot of options. Regional OTT platforms are doing so well, then there are platforms like MX Player and YouTube who deliver what they promise. If Hotstar wants to stay in the business and make profits, then they will have to clearly define a target audience and then decide what will be available for free and what can be charged and go live without ads. 

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO’S RENTAL MODEL FOR PAID SUBSCRIBERS 

When I compare Amazon’s rental model with Disney + Hotstar revenue model, I don’t feel like blaming Amazon for anything. It did piss me off initially but when I saw that new releases are on rent only for the time being, then I thought it’s alright. They are at least giving you a choice. If you are a subscriber and don’t want to pay extra or, in Amazon’s language, pay an ‘early access fee’ for new releases like Drishyam 2 or Ram Setu, you can wait for the titles to become available to you for rent-free. 

Though I still think that renting again should have been an option only for non-subscribers of Amazon. Then it would have been a fair deal. You get access only to what you pay for. But subscribers get access to all the new releases but it’s their revenue model and we cannot do anything about it. At least, we are not being bombarded with ads like Disney + Hotstar is doing. That is a strict no no. 

If you are a subscriber of any of these OTT platforms, do let me know in the comments below what you think about paying extra for new releases or having to watch ads even after being a subscriber. 

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