Dread it. Run from it. It arrives all the same. The streaming covenant, where you pay a monthly fee and they don’t drown you in ads, has been broken. The dark day we have been talking about for a couple of months has arrived. Advertisements began on Amazon Prime Video yesterday. Users across the first areas to have this rolled out who didn’t realize this was coming have reacted with fury.
Rightly so. There is no ad-free tier. Amazon has just added advertisements across the board and says you need to pay an additional $2.99 per month to go ad-free. So a service you have been paying $149 a year for and had since the dawn of streaming has suddenly just got worse.
Netflix and Disney+ have added lower-priced “with ads” tiers alongside their standard offerings. Amazon has gone in a different direction.
The company has said it will have “meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers” which isn’t actually hard, given that network television in the USA is unwatchable due to the volume of ads. Be under no illusions, the number of ads will creep up over time.
Remember, streamers are doing this because they completely screwed up their own market by over-saturating it, then paid astronomical amounts for average content before sitting around looking surprised when subscriber growth turned out to not be unlimited after all.
Amazon’s net worth is around $1.7 trillion.
Lulu Wang, whose TV series Expats starring Nicole Kidman just premiered, has given an interview to The Hollywood Reporter where she stated she is very unhappy at the situation:
“I’m very angry about that. If I had known, I would’ve created in a different way because it’s not a show that has cliffhangers or commercial breaks to make sure people come back.”
Hilariously, Amazon has had to incentivize advertisers to buy into Prime Video ads, including low minimums and bonus media, because the initial takeup among them was so lacklustre.
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