There was a time when paying for a subscription meant not having to watch ads between TV shows and movies. It made sense because we were paying to enjoy a service, paying to watch content. That time is over.
Amazon Prime Video, one of the last streaming services to avoid introducing ads in its movies and series, plans to start airing them early next year, according to Variety. Yes, the era of streaming as we knew it has ended.
Amazon is following in the footsteps of other streaming platforms (Disney+, Netflix, or HBO Max) that also offer ad-supported tiers, a move that suggests the world of streaming could ultimately become just like traditional television.
Ads on Amazon Prime, but few
The company states that it plans to air fewer ads on Amazon Prime Video than traditional networks. Four minutes per hour seems to be a benchmark for the lower amount of ad time on a streaming platform.
Ads will first appear in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in the year.
Those who want to continue watching Amazon Prime Video without ads can do so for an additional $2.99 per month in the United States, in addition to their annual Amazon Prime subscription.
Paying extra or displaying ads, the only way to sustain the business
Amazon stated that the decision to air ads during Prime Video selections would help them “continue to invest in compelling content and increase that investment over a long period of time.”
In addition to paying millions for the rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” Amazon acquired MGM Studios in May 2021 for $8.5 billion. Over the years, they have also launched high-budget series like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” or “The Wheel of Time.”
Amazon’s decision means that few, if any, of the major streaming services outright reject ads. Only Apple TV+ does not show ads in its programs.
Most platforms have adopted some form of advertising, and the companies managing these operations will have to carefully gauge the flow of ads; otherwise, streaming may falter compared to traditional television.