Amazon Prime Video is joining the rush of streaming services looking to see more commercials during previously ad-free programming.
The commercials will begin appearing in early 2024, Amazon said in a blog post.
Prime Video will not be raising its price in 2024 but it will introduce a new, ad-free option costing $2.99 a month.
Amazon currently runs commercials during its Thursday Night Football NFL telecasts. It also has Freevee, an ad-supported streaming TV platform that can be accessed via Prime Video.
“To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in early 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements. We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers,” Amazon said.
Starting with Netflix, one of the attractions of switching from traditional TV to paying for streaming was the ability to avoid commercials. But in the last year, most streaming services have started to add commercials in order to generate more revenue and turn direct-to-consumer losses into profits to satisfy Wall Street.
Two of the largest streaming services, Netflix and Disney Plus, introduced commercials late last year. Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max service recently started running commercials before previously ad-free HBO content and movies.
Streaming hasn’t been a slam dunk for streaming services launching ad products.
While volume in the connected-TV ad market has been growing rapidly, the prices of streaming commercials has fallen as supply has burgeoned.
And Netflix recently announced that advertising revenue would not be significant because it is still ramping up the number of members subscribing to its ad-supported tier.
While Netflix is just building an ad sales and serving infrastructure working with Microsoft, Amazon is well-versed in ad sales and commerce, which may give its launch a smoother runway.
Amazon said what it calls Ads in Prime Video will be avaliable in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany and Canada early next year. That will be followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Australia later in the year.
“We will email Prime members several weeks before ads are introduced into Prime Video with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they would like,” Amazon said.
NEXT TV NEWSLETTER
The smarter way to stay on top of the streaming and OTT industry. Sign up below.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.