When it comes to ad-supported video streaming plans, everyone’s doing it. HBO Max–er, Max–served up its own ad-supported tier, followed by Disney+ and finally Netflix. Now, it appears Amazon wants in on the ad-supported action.
Yes, Amazon already has Freevee, its free ad-supported video streaming service, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the e-tailing giant is exploring options for adding an ad-supported tier to its paid Prime Video offering.
The talks are still only in the “early phases,” and Amazon could ultimately opt to abandon the idea of launching an ad-supported plan for Prime Video, the Journal notes.
Still, debuting an ad-supported version of Prime Video must be an attractive option for Amazon, which just shelled out an astonishing $715 million (the WSJ says) for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
That gargantuan LOTR series was met with tepid reviews and only so-so viewership numbers (I slept through most of it), so Amazon might figure that it’ll take more than Middle Earth to turn Prime Video into a profit center.
Amazon could go a couple of different ways with an ad-supported Prime Video tier. One possibility would be keeping the standard Prime Video plan as-is while offering a discounted ad-supported Prime Video plan. As it stands, Prime Video costs $8.99 a month à la carte, or it comes included with Amazon Prime for $14.99 a month.
Another option, as the Journal notes, would be to inject more commercials to the existing Prime Video tier (remember, there are already ads in Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football games) and then offer a pricier ad-free version of Prime Video.
That latter option would be similar to when Disney raised the price of its ad-free Disney+ tier just as it debuted the ad-supported Disney+ plan, which ended up costing as much as the original Disney+ ad-free offering.
In any event, an ad-supported version of Amazon Prime Video seems inevitable, particularly after Netflix caved and launched its own ad-supported tier.
Indeed, practically the only major video streaming player without an ad-supported plan is Apple TV+, but even Apple is said to be exploring an ad-supported tier.