Amazon Reportedly Will Bring Ad-Supported Tier to Prime Video

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Do you watch some of the original content available on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming platform?

You could soon have a cheaper way to enjoy it!

Amazon is going to be adding an ad-supported subscription tier for its video streaming service, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.

This move would follow similar decisions made by streaming rivals Netflix, Max and Disney+. But it seems Amazon is still in the early phases of shaping what this experience might be for consumers.

In this article, I’ll sort through what we know so far and what we might be able to anticipate based on the recent pivot to ads by Prime Video’s top competitors.

Ad-Supported Prime Video: What We Know So Far

Unfortunately, Amazon is reportedly still very early in the development process for its ad-supported tier of Prime Video.

So, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out specifics on things like launch dates, pricing strategy and content differences between tiers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that advertisers are very much interested in a chance to advertise on Prime Video content: “Ad buyers say they want more access to premium movies and programs that have remained largely ad free, content that often garners more buzz.”

While we wait for more details, let’s look at what we already know and what we hope to learn about this product.

What We Already Know About Amazon and Prime Video

  • Prime Video pricing already depends on subscription status. Amazon includes Prime Video with Amazon Prime subscriptions, so many consumers have it as an included perk to their shopping subscription that costs $14.99 per month. If you don’t want an Amazon Prime subscription, you can pay $8.99 per month to receive ad-free Prime Video streaming. These are important price points to remember as Amazon adds an ad-supported tier.
  • Prime Video has hit big with original series, but they’re expensive. In recent years, Prime Video has produced streaming hits in shows with big stars like “Jack Ryan” (played by John Krasinski) and “The Terminal List” (starring Chris Pratt). These are bringing in viewers, but they’re expensive to produce. An ad-supported tier could help make the math work on this content.
  • The NFL lives here and more sports could be coming. Prime Video became the exclusive home for Thursday Night Football in 2022, and Amazon appears intent on expanding its live sports catalog. Sports are one of the most advertiser friendly types of content because of built-in commercial breaks via frequent stoppage in play.
  • Amazon is already a digital advertising juggernaut. The tech giant ranks behind only Google and Meta (Facebook and Instagram’s parent company) in terms of revenue generated by digital advertising. This positions Prime Video well to “pivot” to advertisements, as Amazon likely has the infrastructure and relationships necessary to start generating revenue from ads on the streaming platform in short order.
  • Amazon already has ad-supported streaming. The FAST (free, ad-supported TV) app Freevee is owned by Amazon and considered to be one of the best free streaming TV services on the market. It will be interesting to see if there is any further integration between it and Prime Video as Amazon makes this strategic adjustment.

What We’d Like To Know About Prime Video’s Coming Ad-Supported Streaming

  • Will this actually save Prime Video customers money? While the easy assumption is that an ad-supported tier could mean cheaper pricing (see Netflix’s $6.99 price point for its “With Ads” subscription), that may not necessarily be the case. The WSJ article floated the possibility that Amazon could potentially shift the ground on customers by offering Amazon Prime members the ad-supported version of content with their subscriptions and then ask them to pay an additional fee to get the content ad-free.
  • Could this lower the monthly price of Amazon Prime? Since Prime Video is a part of the Amazon Prime subscription benefit package, it’s fair to wonder if opting into an ad-supported tier could create an opportunity for some customers to pay slightly less for their Amazon subscription. This would be a no-brainer for consumers who pay Amazon primarily for their product delivery service and have little interest in the streaming content.
  • Will you have to sacrifice content on the ad-supported tier? We previously mentioned content highlights like Amazon Originals and Thursday Night Football that are exclusive to the Prime Video platform. As it stands, those are available to all Prime Video subscribers. But will that remain true when there are ad-supported and ad-free tiers? Streaming competitors like Peacock and Paramount+ have chosen to require subscription upgrades to gain access to some of their best content.
  • How intrusive will the advertisements be? Not every ad-supported streaming subscription is created equal. Some have more frequent commercials and longer advertisement durations than others. We’re hoping Amazon arranges it so that there’s a clear advantage in pricing without a huge downgrade in consumer experience.

Would you like an ad-supported option for Prime Video? How much would you be willing to pay for it? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the community.

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