Amazon plans cheaper Prime Video subscription with ads

The online shopping giant is planning to introduce ads on its streaming service  (AMAZON Studios)
The online shopping giant is planning to introduce ads on its streaming service (AMAZON Studios)

After spoiling us for years with uninterrupted entertainment, the biggest streaming services have started adding advertisements.

Netflix launched an ad plan late last year, and Disney+ quickly followed suit in the US. Next up, it’s Amazon’s turn.

The online shopping giant is planning to introduce ads on its Prime Video streaming service - and could even force them on existing customers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While adverts are most likely to appear in a new plan, Amazon is also reportedly considering showing them to all subscribers. As part of the move, existing users would be able to pay extra to upgrade to an ad-free option that also comes with additional features.

While Amazon hasn’t commented on the report, it could sweeten the deal by bundling together channels such as Discovery+, Paramount+ and MGM.

This wouldn’t be the first time Amazon has tried to upsell a service to Prime members. Currently, subscribers can stream Amazon Music for free, but they can’t play songs on demand. For unrestricted access, you have to fork out £9 per month.

Notably, Prime Video is also available as a standalone monthly subscription for £6, while Prime costs £9 per month or £95 per year.

If it was to go down this route with Prime Video, the change would almost certainly spark a massive backlash from Amazon customers, the majority of who get access to Prime Video through their monthly Prime delivery subscription.

News of Amazon’s interest in streaming ads comes after Netflix revealed that its advertising tier has amassed almost 5 million users in six months. Now, Netflix is planning to cram even more ads into its cheapest subscription including through sponsored pages.

However, making a habit of copying Netflix may not be a wise idea. Alas, the streamer infuriated many subscribers by cracking down on password sharing after allowing the practice to go unchecked for years.

Brits are already accustomed to seeing ads while binge-watching. Many UK streaming services come with adverts as standard, including Now TV and ITV X, though you can pay to remove them.

Over the years, Amazon has quietly turned into an advertising powerhouse. The company generated $9.5 billion (£7.6 billion) in advertising revenue during the first three months of the year, mainly thanks to the ads purchased by sellers on its cavernous shopping site.

It also launched a rebranded free streaming service with ads called Freevee last year, and shows adverts to Prime customers during some of its live sports broadcasts.