Thursday, June 8, 2023

Ad supported Prime Video, but with a catch

There is a report in the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to launch an ad-supported version of its Prime Video service. But there is a catch.

You may remember that recently both Netflix and Disney Plus launched ad-supported versions of their services. It involved a new tier at a lower price.

For example, with Netflix, before the ad-supported tier launched, the lowest priced tier was $10/month for the Basic plan. The new "Standard with ads" plan is $7/month. Its limits include not just ads, but some original content is not available on the service.

With Disney Plus, the discount for the ad-supported plan is $3/month as well. The ad-supported plan for Disney Plus is $8/month, while the regular plan is $11/month. There are not restrictions on the content, such as what Netflix has.

Amazon is expected to take a slightly different approach, according to the Wall Street Journal report:

Amazon is discussing a variety of ways it could introduce ads in Prime Video, people familiar with the matter said. One option would be to bring more advertising to existing Prime subscribers and give them an option to pay more for an ad-free alternative and other features, some of the people said. The company is planning for the ad breaks to be short, they said.

That kind of upselling is an approach Amazon has taken recently with its Amazon Music offering: It gave Prime members access to more songs at no additional cost, but took away the option to get most songs on demand unless users opt for a pricier upgrade.

So, the idea is that Amazon would introduce ads, or actually more ads, into the current model. Amazon has ads to a degree already. They are actually promos for other Amazon content, not third-party advertising. This would change, the report says, and you'd start seeing standard commercial advertisements, not just Amazon promos. Then Amazon would offer an extra fee to stop the ads.

This is the opposite approach from Disney Plus and Netflix, where the new tier was a lower price. Amazon would turn the existing service into an ad-supported service, then charge more for an ad-free experience.

My Streaming Life has included Prime Video, but only because I've been an Amazon Prime subscriber since before Prime Video existed. Prime Video has been a bonus for me. And I rarely watch it. If they do introduce more ads, it won't impact me that much, and I won't pay more to omit them.

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