Prime Video adverts are coming

Prime Video adverts are coming — what’s happening and what next?

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Prime Video adverts are coming — what are the details, is it reasonable and what next

If you’re in the UK (and various other regions) and an Amazon Prime subscriber, you will find an email arriving (we got ours today) with details of changes to the service — heads up, it’s not a surprise New Year treat.

Here’s the top of the email:

We are writing to you today about an upcoming change to your Prime Video experience. Starting February 5, 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 ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers. No action is required from you, and there is no change to the current price of your Prime membership

What are the details behind Prime Video adverts?

Two key facts emerge — they start on February 5, and they will happen to all subscribers. After a quick sell on why it’s good news (in their words) the email goes on to allow us to opt out of adverts, for a mere £2.99 per month. There’s a nice sign-up page [though the link in your email may be a better bet as it should track your account) if you want to pay more than 30% more for the same service you get today.

Is it reasonable?

We don’t think so. Yes, Netflix, Disney and others all offer advert supported tiers, but there are differences: these are lower price than the existing subscriptions and we had more notice. This is a huge hike in charge under a pretext.

Part of the problem as we see it is Amazon Prime itself. Costs for logistics have increased like everything else. You’ll have seen Prime Delivery days becoming more prominent in your browser as Amazon seeks to cut the amount of single free deliveries. Amazon clearly needs more money to keep making expensive shows (eg Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power). Where will it end?

What next for Prime Video

People like free delivery, people like some of the shows on Prime Video. That said, how long before the two part company, and we have the option to keep both with a subscription similar to today, or maybe just simplify the number of streamers we have and keep just free delivery. It’s a tricky decision, and with economic gloom set to continue, one that may well backfire. We will be keeping a close eye on how subscribers react to this latest imposition.