Guess what? It’s another week and another price increase/ad break increase from a streamer. This time Amazon’s Prime Video is getting into the streaming shenanigans. Amazon plans to bring ads into its previously ad-free Prime Video movies and television series. This follows in the footsteps of many streamers who have recently added ads into their content strategies such as Netflix, Disney+, Max, and more. Prime Video has long remained ad-free, but it seems like the siren song of ad revenue is too strong to resist. As of January 29, ads have officially arrived on Prime Video. For those who continue to desire an ad-less and commercial-free existence, Prime Video is offering an ad-free tier, but it will come at a price increase.
And, for those of us who like to watch The Rings of Power in Dolby, we will have to fork over that price increase to get that option. The Verge confirms that Prime Video’s Dolby Vision and Atmos options are only available on the ad-free tier. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities are only available on the ad free option, on relevant titles,” Amazon spokesperson Katie Barker confirmed.
In other news, while reports indicated that Amazon was planning to shut down its free, ad-based streaming service, Freevee, in order to consolidate its ad efforts, Amazon revealed that was not the case. In a statement from a spokesperson, Amazon noted, “There are no changes to Freevee. Amazon Freevee remains an important streaming offering providing both Prime and non-Prime customers thousands of hit movies, shows, and Originals, all for free.” Users of Freevee will be happy to hear this news.
Here’s what else we know.
When and Where Will Ads Hit Prime Video
Amazon has officially introduced ads into the world of Prime Video. Ads arrived on Prime Video on January 29, 2024. Variety reports that ads will first arrive in the US, UK, Germany, and Canada and then will come to Prime Video in France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia at a later date in 2024.
How Much Does the Ad-Free Prime Video Tier Cost?
If commercials in your Prime Video movies and TV shows doesn’t sound like a fun time, you can pay to keep your experience ad-free. In the US, an ad-free Prime Video will cost $2.99 more a month on top of the annual Prime fee of $139. You can register for Prime Video Ad-Free today if you want to avoid ads ever hitting your screen. Amazon notes that even with the ad-free version of Prime Video, “Live TV, Freevee, and channel subscriptions may continue to have ads.”
More About This Change
A release from Amazon about its Prime Video ad plans shares, “Starting January 29, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements. This will allow us to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time. We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.” Only time will tell what exactly this chapter of Prime Video will look like. But it definitely feels like the start of a new era of streaming, one that seems to closely resemble the past.
More than ever, streaming is moving toward becoming exactly like its cable predecessor. We guess we’ll have to wait and see how consumers continue to react.
Originally published on September 22, 2023.