Amazon Prime Video is the latest streamer to enter the ad space. Starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include “limited advertisements,” according to a press release from the company.
Additionally, Amazon will offer a new ad-free option for an additional $2.99 per month for U.S. members. Currently, Amazon Prime, which includes Prime Video, costs $14.99 per month or $139 a year. A membership that only includes Prime Video and none of the company’s shipping benefits costs $8.99 a month.
Amazon has noted that it aims to have fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers. Prime Video ads will be released first in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada in early 2024. After that, the rollout will include France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Australia later in the year. No action is required from Prime members, and the current price of Prime membership will remain the same.
As for the ad-free option, the company will email members several weeks before the initial ad rollout, giving subscribers an opportunity to upgrade to this more expensive option. Regardless of which tier a subscriber has, live events, such as sports, will continue to include ads.
Amazon was one of the last holdouts in streaming’s shift to advertisements. HBO Max, the streaming service that later became Max, rolled out its ad and ad-free tiers back in 2021. Last fall Netflix followed suit, offering a cheaper plan with ads despite CEO Reed Hastings declaring for years Netflix would not have ads or commercials. Disney+ was next, releasing its own basic with ads plan. Other major streamers such as Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock have always existed with an ad option.
One of the appeals of the streaming age Netflix popularized was the absence of commercials. Unlike traditional television, viewers were able to watch as much uninterrupted content as they pleased all for a relatively small monthly fee. Yet the longer the streaming age has continued, the more this model has been tested as every major streamer has returned to the television mainstay streaming once mocked: ads.