Amazon Prime Video will soon have ads, or a $2.99 monthly charge to dodge them
Sep 24, 2023, 2:34 PM | Updated: Sep 25, 2023, 10:26 am
(Photo: Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images for Amazon Studios)
Amazon Prime Video will include advertising during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that have added different tiers of subscriptions.
Members of Amazon Prime can pay $2.99 per month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free, the company said Friday.
Streaming services are in a heated tug-of-war over viewers and users are growing more adept at jumping in and out of those services, often depending on price. The platforms risk losing customers with price hikes, but they could lose them if they don’t generate new content that wins over users.
Disney will begin charging $13.99 a month in the U.S. for ad-free Disney+ in mid-October, 75% more than the ad-supported service. Netflix already charges $15.49 per month for its ad-free plan, more than twice the monthly subscription for Netflix with ads.
Amazon said limited advertisements will be aired during shows and movies starting early next year so that it can “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.”
The 0nline retail giant also stated on one of its websites it will “aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.”
Four minutes per hour seems to be a benchmark for the lowest amount of ad time on a streaming platform, according to coverage from Variety.
Ads in Prime Video content will start in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.
For U.S. users, Amazon said it will send out an email to Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into its programs with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they choose to do so.
Some Amazon Prime Video offerings
In its announcement, the company touted Amazon MGM Studios earning 68 Primetime Emmy Award nominations this year, marking the Studio’s biggest year ever It also called out the recently concluded series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” becoming the most Emmy-nominated streaming comedy ever with 80 nominations over its five-season run.
Other Amazon Prime Video series that have been nominated for best comedy or drama Primetime Emmys include “The Boys” (nominated for best drama in 2021), “Fleabag” (winner of the 2019 best comedy Emmy) and “Transparent” (nominated for best comedy in 2015 and 2016).
Over the years, the service has launched other premium series including the John Krasinski-led “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “The Wheel of Time.”
Other recent series the service has released include “Reacher,” “Daisy Jones & The Six” and “Citadel,” a spy series from the Russo brothers.
Amazon Prime Video also has released a number of original movies. Earlier this year, “Shotgun Wedding,” which stars Jennifer Lopez ands Josh Duhamel, debuted on the service.
Romantic comedy “Red, White & Royal Blue” is an adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s bestselling novel that features a high-profile American and a famous British royal feuding before, as Amazon says, the “friction between them sparks something deeper than they ever expected.” It has garnered a significant amount of interest.
According to Deadline and other reporting outlets, “Royal Blue” launched on Prime Video on in August and became the No. 1 movie globally on the service in its premiere weekend. It is also one of Prime Video’s top three most-watched romantic comedies of all time, as Amazon reported. The company wouldn’t disclose the two other films in the top three.
Amazon Prime Video also just released the well-received “A Million Miles Away,” which is the real-life story of NASA flight engineer José Hernández, played by Michael Peña. The movie details how Hernandez worked his way to becoming the first Mexican-American astronaut. It currently holds an 89% critic rating and a 97% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Besides original series and movies, Amazon pays millions for the rights to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” and the company acquired MGM Studios in May of 2021 for $8.5 billion as Variety noted.
More on Amazon Prime
Amazon also said that it’s not making changes to the price of Prime membership next year. It plans to announce pricing for ad-free programming for countries other than the U.S. at a later time.
Amazon’s Prime Video is part of a much bigger slate of perks that come with Amazon Prime membership. Members also get free shipping for goods bought on Amazon.com, groceries, online music and more.
Note for buyers: Amazon raising free-shipping minimums on customers without Prime
In June Amazon was accused by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly engaging in a yearslong effort to enroll consumers without consent into Amazon Prime and making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. An Amazon spokesperson said at the time that the FTC’s claims were false.
Contributing: Steve Coogan, Frank Sumrall; The Associated Press