Amazon Prime Video has been a free perk for those who subscribe to the ecommerce giant’s free shipping service, but if you’re a US Prime subscriber, things change from today …
We first learned of the planned change back in September of last year, with the implementation date announced in an email to customers in December.
We are writing to you today about an upcoming change to your Prime Video experience. 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.
If you want to retain the ad-free experience, you have to hand over an extra $2.99 per month.
The WSJ notes Amazon’s claim that it has a lower ad-load than most ad-supported services.
Amazon’s presentation said the average ad load per hour is expected to be between two and three-and-half minutes, which would be meaningfully smaller than traditional television and most other streaming services. Some commercials would appear before a program begins playing, while others would interrupt it.
Understandably, customers are not impressed – and some are cancelling their subscription.
When Grace was notified last month that Prime Video would soon include commercials unless he paid extra, he immediately canceled his Prime subscription, forgoing the free-shipping perk and vowing to stop shopping from Amazon altogether.
“There is only one way to show them that this is not OK: to cancel,” said Grace, a 27-year-old gig worker from Sharon, Pa.
But analysts suspect the cancellation rate will be low.
Nobody likes ads, but streaming video companies are struggling to transition to profit after selling their content at a loss to win business from cable customers, and Amazon is no exception. We’ve seen a succession of steep price rises, leading to an increase in video piracy.
The latest development is Netflix pulling its cheapest ad-supported tier.
Ultimately, most customers pay for Prime for the free shipping rather than the streaming video content, so there will likely be a lot of grumbling, but very few people cancelling.
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