By Sahil Patel
Don’t look now, but Amazon is embracing digital video advertising. The company has inked a deal with video ad tech provider FreeWheel to power its video ad business.
FreeWheel’s clients include media heavyweights from NBCUniversal and Fox to AOL, Crackle, and VEVO.
Now, with Amazon on board as well, FreeWheel will serve and manage video ads in front of short-form video content like game and movie trailers, how-to clips, and various product videos that show up in Amazon search results. FreeWheel says it’s already working with Amazon to bring pre-rolls from relevant brands to this type of video content. FreeWheel will also introduce e-commerce options like “Shop Now” into some of these video ads, helping the retailer (and brands) drive purchases.
What could make this deal far more interesting, is if Amazon decides to bring more of an ad-supported model to Amazon Prime Instant Video. So far, as others have noted, Amazon has been delivering pre-rolls in front of some free TV shows on the Kindle Fire. If advertisers warm up to it, then it’s possible that Instant Video becomes more like Hulu and Crackle, which both embed pre-rolls and mid-rolls within TV-length content.
To be fair, it would get really interesting if Amazon unhooks Prime Instant Video from the free-shipping service, and turns it into an ad-supported/SVOD service like Hulu. Then those comparisons to Netflix and Hulu would get even louder (and optimistically speaking, it would probably bring more viewers to Amazon’s originals). But the company has given no hints that it ever plans on doing that.