There’s good news and bad news for users of the Otter.ai transcription service. The good news is that Otter Assistant — a bot that can be configured to record meetings automatically — will now be available to everyone, regardless of whether they’re a free or paid user.
The bad news, however, is that Otter.ai is scaling back on some features, like the number of monthly transcription minutes available for basic and pro accounts.
Otter.ai first launched its bot to automatically record Zoom meetings last May, though it later added support for Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex. The assistant integrates with the user’s calendar, and automatically joins any scheduled meeting, records it and shares the transcription with everyone in the meeting. So even if someone can’t attend a meeting, they can at least listen back to it and peruse the notes later.
The feature was originally only available to subscribers on the business plan, but starting September 27 it will be available to Free and Pro accounts too. However, those who pay for a Pro account will be able to ask the Otter Assistant to join two concurrent meetings.
What’s more, the company’s AI-generated meeting summary feature — which was introduced in March — will be available to both Basic and Pro account users too.
While users are gaining these features, the company is restricting things like transcription minutes per-month for both Basic and Pro accounts. Here’s a rundown of what’s changing:
Otter Basic (free tier)
- Users will get 300 transcription minutes per month instead of 600.
- They will be able to access the last 25 recordings, with older ones archived.
- Currently, users can play recordings at 0.5x, 1x and 2x playback speed. But with the new plan, they’ll be able to play clips at only 1x speed.
- Users will get 1,200 transcription minutes per month instead of 6,000 — that’s one-fifth of what they’re getting with the current offering.
- Instead of four hours, transcribed minutes-per-meeting will be reduced to just 90 minutes.
- Otter previously allowed unlimited uploads of recordings for transcription with its paid service. Now, it’s restricting things to 10 uploads per month.
- The firm is also moving the ability to sync recordings to Dropbox to the Business tier.
But that’s not all. Otter Pro’s monthly subscribers will have to pay $16.99 per month instead of $12.99 starting September 27, though they will get to use their accounts with the current limits until November 30. The annual plan will still cost $99.99 ($8.33 per month), so if users subscribe to that plan before September 27, current feature limits will apply until next year.
Clearly, the company, which raised $50 million in a Series B round last year, is coercing users to commit to the yearly plan.
While more business-centric alternatives such as Dialpad have enjoyed massive success, with this latest move, it seems that Otter.ai is trying to appease the more casual user while also trying to boost its revenues by encouraging users to upgrade their plans to get the same features that they’re accustomed to.