Amazon to include adverts to its Prime Video service in 2024, unless users opt for a higher cost ad-free subscription plan
Amazon is reacting to similar moves by other video streaming platforms and has announced that adverts will soon be appearing with its standard Prime video subscription.
Amazon said that because it continues to invest heavily in content over a long period of time, “starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements.”
In June the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had reported that Amazon was planning to launch an advertising-supported tier on its Prime Video streaming service.
Amazon had launched its Prime program back in 2005 and it has grown to become one of the most popular subscription services in the world, with more than 200 million members globally.
Prime generates billions of dollars for Amazon, and it gives users speedy deliveries and access to its streaming TV and music content.
Indeed its original role upon its 2005 launch was to deliver for free within two days for members. Over the years Prime benefits have expanded, and one of its key benefits currently is Prime Video, which offers a vast selection of movies and TV series, including Amazon Originals, and live sport.
Entertainment content on Prime Video was further expanded in May 2021 when Amazon purchased veteran film studio MGM for $8.45 billion.
MGM has more than 4,000 film titles including the James Bond franchise, but other notable titles including 12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, and many others.
“To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements,” the e-commerce giant said.
“We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers,” it added. “Ads in Prime Video content will be introduced in the US, UK, Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.”
The good is that there will be an option for members to go ad-free, but sadly this will cost extra.
“We will also offer a new ad-free option for an additional $2.99 per month for US Prime members and will share pricing for other countries at a later date,” said Amazon. “We will email Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into Prime Video with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they would like.”
Prime subscription in the US currently costs $14.99 per month or $139 per year, and in the UK it costs £8.99 per month or $95 per year.
Amazon’s move follows similar ad roll-outs by rivals Netflix and Walt Disney, as well as the streaming industry contending with inflation and high interest rates, as consumers cut back on their entertainment spend and other discretionary expenses during the cost of living crisis.
Meanwhile Amazon is also dealing with ongoing legal action from the US trade regulator.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had sued Amazon in June over allegations it “knowingly duped millions of consumers into unknowingly enrolling in Amazon Prime.”
The FTC accused the e-commerce giant of using “manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically-renewing Prime subscriptions.”
This week the FTC publicly named three senior Amazon executives, who it alleged took part in the “years-long effort to enroll consumers into its Prime program without their consent while knowingly making it difficult for consumers to cancel their Prime subscriptions.”
In October 2019, the UK advertising watchdog, the ASA, ruled that Amazon had used a misleading payment page to get users to sign up for its Prime subscription service.