Amazon has begun lowering streaming bitrates for Prime Video viewers in Europe. In a statement, the company said it agreed with the notion that telecom services need to be managed carefully during the coronavirus pandemic, otherwise people won't be able to work from home and minimize economic turmoil. "Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet Service Providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe where we've already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers," a Prime Video spokesperson added.
Netflix and YouTube have made similar decisions in the last 24 hours. Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the EU's internal market, spoke with Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, about the issue on Wednesday. The streaming giant then announced its decision to reduce streaming bitrates yesterday. "Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings -- and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus -- Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days," the company said in a statement.
YouTube, meanwhile, has vowed to make standard definition the default in Europe. Presumably, though, it will still be possible for viewers to select a higher resolution. It's unclear, though, if Netflix and Prime Video users will have such an option when they stream their favorite shows and movies.