Amazon Prime Video will include ads during shows and movies starting early next year, joining other streaming services that are adding different subscription tiers.
Amazon Prime members can pay $2.99 a month in the U.S. to keep their service ad-free, the company said Friday.
Streaming services are hotly contested among audiences, and users are becoming more adept at moving in and out of them, often depending on price. Platforms face the risk of losing customers with price increases, but they may lose customers if they do not produce new content that will attract users’ attention.
Disney will begin charging $13.99 a month for ad-free Disney+ in the US starting in mid-October; That’s 75% more than the ad-supported service. Netflix already charges $15.49 per month for its ad-free plan; That’s more than twice as much as a Netflix subscription with ads.
Amazon said it will run limited ads during shows and movies starting early next year so it can “continue investing in engaging content and increasing that investment over an extended period of time.”
Live events like sporting events on Amazon Prime already include advertising.
Ads on Prime Video content will launch in the US, UK, Germany and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Australia later in the year.
Amazon said it will not change the price of Prime membership next year. It plans to announce prices for ad-free programs for countries outside the US later.
For U.S. users, Amazon said it will send Prime members an email a few weeks before ads are introduced into their schedules with information on how to sign up for the ad-free option if they want.
Amazon’s Prime Video is part of a much larger list of benefits that come with an Amazon Prime membership. Members also enjoy free shipping on Amazon.com purchases, groceries, online music and more.
In June, Amazon was indicted by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly engaging in a years-long effort to sign up consumers for Amazon Prime without their consent and make it harder for them to cancel their subscriptions. An Amazon spokesperson said at the time that the FTC’s claims were false.