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Report: Amazon Prime Video Could Get an Ad-Supported Tier

Posted June 8, 2023 | Amazon | Amazon Prime | Amazon Prime Video | Music + Videos | Streaming Wars | Windows

Amazon is reportedly planning to introduce a new ad-supported tier for its Prime Video service. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon has started exploring different options for bringing ads to the streaming service, especially after Netflix and Disney+ both launched ad-supported tiers last year.

“Amazon is discussing a variety of ways it could introduce ads in Prime Video, people familiar with the matter said,” the Wall Street Journal wrote. “One option would be to bring more advertising to existing Prime subscribers and give them an option to pay more for an ad-free alternative and other features, some of the people said. The company is planning for the ad breaks to be short, they said.”

In some way, this plan would mimic what Amazon did with Amazon Music Prime, which previously made a limited music catalog of around 2 million songs available on demand for Prime subscribers. In November, Amazon revamped its Amazon Music Prime service to make its full music catalog (100 million songs) available to subscribers, but only in shuffle mode.

To play the music they want on demand, Prime members now need to upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, which costs $9/month. A lot of Prime members were ultimately disappointed by this change. Asking Prime members to pay extra to not see ads on Prime Video could also be quite controversial, though the Wall Street Journal reports that “Amazon hasn’t firmed up its plans, and could decide not to move forward with an ad tier, the people said.”

Amazon is already showing ads on its live sports content, and some of its shows also include product placement. Amazon also has a free ad-supported streaming service with Freevee (formerly IMDbTV), and Freevee content is now being displayed to Prime Video users. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is also in discussions with  Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, to make the ad-supported tiers of their streaming services available through Prime Video channels.

In December, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that he had regrets about not launching an ad-supported plan earlier. The company said last month that its ad-supported plan now has 5 million users and that its user base more than doubled since early this year.

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