Amazon Prime Ends Free Ad-Free Movies, Introduces New Viewing Charges

In a strategic shift, Amazon Prime Video is set to revolutionize its service by introducing ads within films and TV shows, starting from early February.

New change

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This change will first impact viewers in the UK and Germany and customers wanting an uninterrupted viewing experience will now face an additional fee of £2.99. Other European countries, including France, Italy, and Spain, are slated to experience this later in the year.

New subscription model rolling out in February

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An email sent to Prime users outlined the new changes: “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.”

Investing in better content

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The email continued, “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 needed

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Customers are not required to make any changes to their subscriptions unless they wish to opt in for the new premium ad-free service.

New landscape for streaming

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Amazon’s decision, aimed at bolstering investments in high-quality content, comes amidst a competitive streaming landscape and the company assures that the standard Prime membership costs will remain stable.

Following in the footsteps of others

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This move diverges from the paths of Netflix and Disney+, who have recently rolled out more wallet-friendly, ad-supported options.

Different subscription model

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Amazon, in contrast, is not offering a discount for its ad-inclusive tier, setting a precedent in the industry where customers must pay more for ad-free content.

Necessary evolution

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The streaming industry, grappling with the escalating expenses of content creation, licensing, and market competition, sees this as a necessary evolution.

Big losses in 2023

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Notably, Disney+ and other industry titans like Warner Bros Discovery, Comcast, and Paramount reported a combined loss exceeding €4.5 billion over the past year, despite price hikes, as per Financial Times reports.

Evolution of Amazon

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When Amazon launched Prime in 2005, the primary benefit was free two-day shipping. Over the years, Prime has evolved into a comprehensive service that includes blockbuster entertainment, such as Prime Video.

Increase in users

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In the United States alone, the number of Amazon Prime users stands at approximately 174.9 million in 2023. This number is projected to surpass 188.5 million by 2026.

Reported revenue

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In terms of revenue, Amazon Prime membership sales reached $8.6 billion in the first half of 2023, marking a 6.17% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

Angry customers

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The introduction of ads and the additional charge for ad-free viewing has led to a mixed reaction among consumers with one X user stating, “Just cancelled Amazon Prime after an email telling me they will start to push ads into tv and movies. I do not want ads, I do not like ads, I find ads to be unethical, manipulative and a dire risk to autonomy. I will not pay extra not to see ads.”

Better content

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Another person was frustrated with the new charged, demaning that Amazon Prime include better streaming choices, “If Amazonwants to charge us for ad free content, that we already pay for with our Amazon Prime subscription, then maybe they could offer decent prints of older films, rather than the atrocious public domain stuff they offer now.”

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