What the Tech: Amazon to add ads?


It’s getting harder to avoid commercials while streaming movies and shows. Or at least more

Amazon is the latest company to begin airing advertisements on its streaming
platform Amazon Prime Video.

From the beginning, one of the perks of paying for Amazon Prime has been the ability to watch
a Netflix-type video service at no additional charge. Prime Video is included in the $140-a-year
Prime membership. Last week the company announced it will be adding commercials before
and during shows and movies.

How many commercials?

Amazon only says it’ll be “meaningfully fewer hours” than regular or linear TV. Generally speaking, network and cable TV channels air about 18 minutes of commercials every hour. So it’s supposed to be less than that.

Amazon already has a FAST service, which stands for “Free ad-supported television”, called
FreeVee which shows about four minutes of advertisements every 15-16 minutes. It also shows a
brief commercial for Amazon Prime movies prior to the start of a show.

Other services also have ad-supported tiers. Hulu’s basic FAST service is currently $8/mo but
will increase next month. I timed a movie on Hulu, “The Triangle of Sadness” which inserted
2-minutes of commercials every 15-16 minutes. Hulu’s ad-free subscription will increase from
$15/mo to $18/mo beginning October 12th.

Disney+ also has a basic subscription with ads for $8/month and a premium (no ads) tier that is

Netflix introduced an ad-supported subscription last year that is $6.99 a month. That
subscription has limitations. Some shows and movies are unavailable, content cannot be
downloaded, and the video quality is not as good as you see from a Standard or Premium
Netflix subscription.

In its release, Amazon did not mention whether the ad-supported plan limits downloads.

Why the change from Amazon? The company spends millions of dollars each year producing its
own content. Amazon says it will use the revenue it earns to produce movies and shows from its

Amazon customers who want to keep their current no-ads plan will have to pay $2.99 a month.

Amazon says it will begin showing ads early next year and will contact customers prior to the
change taking place.

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