Amazon Prime Video To Carry Ads In UK From 5 February

Amazon has confirmed that adverts will begin appearing for UK customers of the Amazon Prime Video service in early 2024.

In an email to UK customers, Amazon told Silicon UK that adverts would start appearing on 5 February 2024.

The move had been expected, after it was reported in June that Amazon was planning to launch an advertising-supported tier on its Prime Video streaming service.

Then in September 2023 Amazon officially confirmed that it would include adverts with its Prime Video service in 2024, unless users opt for a higher cost ad-free subscription plan.

Image credit Amazon

Amazon Prime

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.

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 is Prime Video, which offers a selection of movies and TV series, including Amazon Originals, and live sport (that feature adverts).

Prime generates billions of dollars for Amazon, but there is also a cost involved.

In May 2021 Amazon purchased veteran film studio MGM for $8.45 billion, although most of these movies tend to be locked behind an additional rental or purchase fee option.

Image may be subject to copyright

Amazon has already opted for cost cutting measures.

During 2023 the e-commerce and cloud giant has laid off 27,000 people from its workforce.

Customer email

One way to generate additional revenue is via adverts.

Amazon told Silicon UK that it has emailed its UK customers to let them know the start date that adverts will begin appearing on their Prime Video service.

“We are writing to you today about an upcoming change to your Prime Video experience,” the email states. “Starting February 5, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements.”

“This will allow us to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time,” Amazon said. “We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers.”

It said no action is required from the customer, and there is no change to the current price of the annual Prime membership, which had seen a price rise in 2022.

Amazon did say that it will “also offer a new ad-free option for an additional £2.99 per month.”

Amazon’s move follows similar ad roll-outs by rivals Netflix and Walt Disney, as the streaming industry contends with inflation and high interest rates, prompting consumers to cut back on their entertainment spend and other discretionary expenses during the cost of living crisis.

FTC lawsuit

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.”

The FTC also 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.”

Amazon contests the FTC allegations.

In October 2019, the UK advertising watchdog, the ASA, had ruled that Amazon had used a misleading payment page to get users to sign up for its Prime subscription service.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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