Amazon may soon offer an ad-supported version of Prime Video at a cheaper rate.
Amazon Prime Video was once the streaming service that just happened to come along with a year’s worth of two-day shipping. Many subscribers forgot they had it half the time. Over the years, however, thanks to shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the insanely expensive Lord of the Rings prequel, Rings of Power, Prime Video has become a real competitor in the streaming wars. Now according to The Verge, in an effort to be even more competitive, Amazon might soon launch a cheaper, ad-supported option for Prime Video.
Amazon currently offers Prime Video in a number of ways. Subscribers can pay $139 for a year of Amazon Prime two-day shipping with Prime Video included or $14.99 per month for the same services. There’s also a monthly option to subscribe to Prime Video alone for $8.99. This new add-supported tier would presumably be cheaper than the $8.99 standalone, but not necessarily.
The company is weighing several options when it comes to integrating ads into its current setup. One option that Amazon is reportedly considering is showing ads to existing Prime Video subscribers—subscribers who currently enjoy Prime Video ad-free—and then offering an option to pay more money for an ad-free tier.
So essentially, instead of offering an ad-supported option at a lower price as many of its competitors have done, Amazon would lower the quality of its current subscription tiers and then charge subscribers more for the features they already enjoy.
The ad breaks would reportedly be “short,” however, adding breaks of any length to a currently ad-free subscription may not work out the way Amazon expects it to. As streaming becomes more like the cable TV it sought to replace, adding ads and offering pre-programmed “channels,” more subscribers are apt to go the pirate route and obtain their content illegally.
With piracy becoming easier than ever, thanks to rapid advances in technology, streamers might need to come up with a better money-making scheme than the advertising model entertainment companies have been using for over a century.
If Amazon does add commercials to Prime Video—either through a new ad-supported tier or by downgrading the existing tiers—it won’t be the first time the conglomerate has dipped its toes in ad-supported waters. Amazon currently offers Freevee, a free ad-supported streaming TV service known in the industry as FAST. In addition to a selection of popular movies and series, Freevee also offers a few Prime Video originals like A League of Their Own on its ad-supported platform.
Amazon is also in talks with fellow streamers Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount over possibly offering ad-supported versions of Max and Paramount+ to subscribers through its Prime Video Channels. Amazon currently offers the premium ad-free versions of both streaming services as ala cart add-ons to its regular Prime Video subscription.
As Amazon, much like rivals Disney and Warner Bros., deals with layoffs and an uncertain economy, subscribers can expect more tier changes and other “gimmicks” as the tech giant attempts to keep its head above water.