Amazon Prime customers get a lot for their monthly $14.99 subscription fee: free shipping, online photo storage as part of Amazon Videos, access to Amazon Music... Starting in early 2024, they’ll get even more, with Amazon planning to make free advertisements part of the bundle for Prime Video viewers. Well, unless they’re willing to pay even more to avoid them, of course.
According to reports, Amazon is adding ads to Prime Video in four markets — the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Canada — at some point in early 2024, with roll-outs for ads happening later that year in Australia, Mexico, France, Italy, and Spain. The company says that it plans “to have meaningly fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming providers,” but the fact remains: what used to be an ad-free viewing experience is no longer going to be ad-free very soon.
Well, that’s not entirely true; Amazon will add a new subscription tier for Prime Video, which remains mercifully free of people trying to sell you things as long as you’re willing to pay an additional $2.99 on top of the monthly $14.99 cost — but that will be an opt-in offer, as existing subscribers will automatically get pushed into the ad-supported tier come the changeover.
We shouldn’t be too surprised; Amazon is really only following the likes of Netflix and Disney+ in adding advertisements to their previously ad-free streaming options. In August, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that “the advertising marketplace for streaming is picking up” by way of explaining the reason for Disney+ adding ads; in other words, now that there’s money available, why not try to get it? Amazon apparently feels the same way — and the news that Prime Video is also going for that sweet ad revenue means that Apple TV+ will soon become the only major streamer that doesn’t have an ad-supported model. (For now.)
Look, we can’t complain too much: there’s a lot of shows to love on Prime Video — The Boys! Good Omens! Swarm! — and we’re as excited about Prime Video’s upcoming NYCC panel as anyone else. (Maybe more so, even.) But… let’s allow ourselves just a minute or two to grieve for the seemingly now-dead dream of a streaming future that didn’t interrupt our favorite series every fifteen minutes or so to let us know about the latest medical breakthrough.
It was fun while it lasted.
Did someone say NYCC? Here’s a guide to what Popverse is going to get up to during the October 2023 event.