As the holiday shopping season approaches, Amazon is dealing with a wave of walkouts and strikes.  

Source: The Verge


The second Prime Day sale of the year is currently underway on Amazon, and it’s being marketed as a means to grab Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals early. However, as it pursues customers, Amazon is facing demands for improved compensation and working conditions from the employees who handle the massive volume of shipments that pass through its facilities, warehouses, and air hubs. As Amazon prepares to enter one of its busiest seasons, the danger of strikes, walkouts, and maybe another unionized warehouse all loom.

On Wednesday, workers at Amazon’s ALB1 facility in Albany, New York, started voting on whether to organize with the Amazon Labor Union, the group that unionized Amazon’s JFK8 facility and which is currently negotiating with Amazon for a contract. Another fulfillment center in Moreno Valley, California, has also filed to hold a vote on whether to join with the ALU, though the National Labor Relations Board still has to confirm whether 30 percent of the unit’s 800 workers signed cards saying they’re interested in the election.


Why is Amazon facing walk-outs and unionization?


The reasons for the employee actions are varied; in Illinois, workers are demanding protection against violence, injury, and sexual harassment. In California, workers have been demanding “basic safety measures” after Amazon failed to respond to a walkout this summer, where workers accused the company of not giving them breaks or aid during excessive heat. High temperatures have actually been a concern in many areas — earlier this year, lawmakers cited how Amazon handled 2017 and 2018 heatwaves in their demand for information on its severe weather policies, and the company has reportedly installed new air conditioning equipment at a facility where a worker died during the last Prime Day event (the company blamed “a personal medical condition” for the incident).

According to Jane Chung from The Worker Agency, Amazon “failed to meet workers’ demands and has responded to workers who are organizing to improve their jobs by bringing in high-paid outside consultants who harass and follow workers around in an attempt to dissuade them from organizing for better conditions.” She also mentioned that its Prime Day events exacerbate its “invasive surveillance, the dangerous pace of work, and deadly conditions” because it means employees have to “sprint to fulfill the massive growth in packages ordered, transported, and delivered.”


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Which OTT Platform Will Be The Biggest in 2022?

The rise of Over-the-Top (OTT) players has put streaming services in the spotlight. According to Statista, the global market for video content services is expected to reach a value of almost $200 billion by 2021. The OTT market segment recorded revenues of more than $50 billion in 2018, which is a massive increase from just $35 billion in 2017. This rapid growth can be attributed to the ease with which people can access these services. Nowadays, users have great flexibility and access when it comes to choosing what they want to watch and where they want to watch it. Read on to know more about the OTT industry and its key trends.


What is Over-the-Top?

Over-the-Top (OTT) refers to a delivery method of media content as opposed to a traditional method of distribution via a cable television or radio transmission. OTT content is available on demand, anytime, anywhere, and through any device. The term OTT is mostly used in the context of video content or internet television services. OTT providers do not require end-users to subscribe to a traditional TV service in order to view their content. Due to the increased demand for digital content, the number of OTT services is on the rise.


Global OTT market forecast

There are several factors that are fuelling the growth of the OTT market. First and foremost, the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets is encouraging users to consume more media and information on the go. Moreover, the availability of high-speed internet connections is paving the way for video content consumption on these devices. These days, users can stream movies and TV shows on their smartphones to kill time on public transportation. And with the advent of 5G networks, it is expected that the penetration of OTT services will increase even further. The increasing adoption of smart home devices is another factor driving the growth of the OTT market. The ability to control devices from a single app and view content on a larger screen has made it even easier to stream content. Additionally, the growing number of cord-cutters is another factor driving the growth of the OTT market. Cord-cutters are those who prefer to watch content through OTT services instead of paying for cable TV. It is expected that the OTT market will continue to grow at a rapid pace over the next few years.


Which streaming platform will be the biggest in 2022?

The battle for the top streaming spot is indefinitely fierce, and the industry is evolving at lightning speed. There is no clear leader in this space, and the top player is bound to change every year as platforms make improvements and add new features. However, if we were to look at the popularity of these services right now, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video are at the top of the list. Netflix is a popular paid subscription service that offers a wide range of content including TV series, documentaries, and movies. YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing website, and it is the largest streaming platform. Amazon Prime Video is the video-streaming service offered by Amazon. Amazon Prime Video is available as a standalone paid streaming service, or as a part of Amazon Prime membership. Hulu is another popular streaming service that is currently ranked third in the industry.


Streaming Platform Shaping Strategies

There are various strategies that OTT players can adopt to stay in the game. Some of them include adding more content, investing in original content, branching out to new markets, and expanding their user base. OTT players have started partnering with technology players to ensure that they stay relevant in the industry. One of the ways that OTT players can ensure growth is by expanding their user base. Some of the ways to do this include launching a website or app in different languages, developing a mobile-friendly platform, and offering customer support in different languages. Another strategy that OTT players can adopt is by investing in original content. This can help them create a strong brand and set themselves apart from the competition. Additionally, OTT players can add more content to their existing library. This will help them attract more users and encourage them to stay subscribed to their platform.


Biggest challenges for OTT players

One of the biggest challenges for OTT players is to differentiate their service from the competition. While many providers are competing to offer the best content and innovative features, one has to be very careful while doing so. Not only will such actions increase costs, but they will also make it more difficult to compete with other streaming services. Compared to other players in the industry, OTT players are at a disadvantage when it comes to data analytics and content distribution. Due to the highly distributed nature of these companies, they have limited control over their content and how it is distributed. Moreover, they are unable to obtain information about who is watching their content, where they are located, and what device they are using to consume it.


Key Takeaway

The rise of OTT services has created a massive marketplace for media content. This has also given rise to a new breed of online streaming platforms that allow users to enjoy content online. If you are in the business of media content, there has never been a better time to jump on the OTT bandwagon. If you’re a content creator, you can also cash in on the rising popularity of OTT services. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you should consider launching your content on an OTT platform.

Amazon Prime Hikes its Annual Membership Subscription to $139

Amazon Prime is introducing hiked plans for Prime memberships for greater benefits and growing costs. The company is raising its membership plans for the first time since 2018. 


The Revised Tariffs


Recently, Amazon Prime used its latest earnings to reveal its price hike. The company is raising the fee from $15 per month (which was previously $13), or $139 per year (previously $119). The Prime Student price is also reportedly going up from $59 per year to $69 per year. 

The revised and higher rates will be effective from February 18 2022 for new customers. However, the raised prices will not be effective for the existing customers until they renew their membership subscription till March 25, 2022 or later. This provides an added advantage for users seeking to subscribe to the OTT platform as they can lock in the current price for a year. 


Reason Behind the Hiked Rates


This comes amid rising operating costs for the retail giant. And this isn’t the only subscription service hiking prices, as streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have done the same in recent months. The company attributed the increase in plans’ tariff to the ‘continued expansion’ of Prime perks along with higher wages and transportation costs. 

One thing which becomes clear is Amazon’s ambitious plans for Prime Video. According to some reports, the upcoming Lord of the Rings series is expected to cost $465 million just for its first season—and that is not including other big productions. 


Beyond Customer’s Concerns


However, some argue that the company cannot blame the hike on financial hardships. Amazon’s net profit jumped nearly 57% in 2021 during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic which ultimately boosted Amazon’s core shopping business—hiking its profit to $33.4 billion. The increase in tariff might also irk people beyond Amazon’s customers. 

Amazon is raising rates even as it fights workers’ efforts to improve working conditions, and as it faces increasing government scrutiny of its pricing and other practices. There won’t be much sympathy from some corners, then, even if Amazon does use the extra revenue to help staff.


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