Next year, watching TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video without ads will cost more than it does now. In early 2024, Amazon will show ads with Prime Video content unless you pay $2.99 extra.
Amazon announced today that Prime Video users in the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK will automatically start seeing advertisements “in early 2024.” Subscribers will receive a notification email “several weeks” in advance, at which point they can opt to pay $2.99 extra for ad-free Prime Video, Amazon said.
That takes the price of ad-free Prime Video from $8.99/month alone to $11.98/month and from $14.99/month with Prime to $17.98/month.
Here’s how that compares against other ad-free streaming service tiers:
- Apple TV+: $6.99
- Disney+: $13.99 (starting October 12)
- Netflix: $15.49
- Hulu: $17.99 (starting October 12)
- Paramount+: $11.99
- Peacock: $11.99
Amazon said it’s making this change “to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Prime Video is an expensive endeavor, costing Amazon $16.6 billion in 2022, with $7 billion of that spent on original content.
The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Amazon was considering introducing an ad-supported Prime Video tier amid high interest from advertisers. The company is already heavily invested in advertising, with its second-quarter earnings reporting advertising services growing 22 percent year over year to $10.9 billion. Amazon follows only Google and Meta in terms of digital ad revenue, according to Insider Intelligence.
Some Prime Video content already has product placement, and sports programming on Prime Video has ads. But bringing ads to the entire service gives Amazon the ability to generate more revenue from ads and from people who decide to cough up the extra cash to avoid seeing commercials.
Prime Video subscribers who don’t pay the extra $2.99 (and don’t just cancel their subscription altogether) are promised “meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.”
Amazon did not provide further details about the upcoming change. However, Max says it shows “about 4 minutes of ads per hour,” and Peacock shows up to 5 minutes per hour. A May report from Insider Intelligence citing data from advertising analyst MediaRadar said Disney+ shows 5.3 minutes of ads per hour, Netflix four minutes, and Hulu 7.3 minutes.
With current prices starting at $9.99 per month, Prime Video was one of the cheapest ways to get streaming TV without ads. While the changes put pricing for ad-free Prime Video more on par with its competitors, it may still disappoint budget-minded cord-cutters. Streaming services started off as a cheaper, simpler alternative to cable TV. But as an influx in services, changes in pricing, confusing bundles, and scattered content have proven, we haven’t gotten that far from cable after all.