Amazon Prime Video to show ads from next year, unless you upgrade

Mike Wheatley

Following in the footsteps of Netflix, Amazon has announced that it will soon be integrating ads with its popular video streaming service Amazon Prime Video.


Given Netflix’s earlier move, and the publicly disclosed plans by Disney+ that it will also do the same, Amazon’s announcement doesn’t come as a major surprise. However, Amazon is opting for something a little different. Rather than launching a newer, less expensive tier for subscribers who don’t mind putting up with ads, it will add them to its existing plan that costs £8.99-a-month, or £95 a year.

The ads will come to Amazon Prime Video subscribers in the U.K., the U.S. and in Germany and Canada early next year, the company said.

It’s an interesting gambit by Amazon, as it means that viewers who do not want to put up with their shows being regularly interrupted by adverts will now have to upgrade their Amazon Prime membership to a newer and more expensive tier. Amazon hasn’t said yet how much this will cost U.K. viewers, but in the U.S. it is asking customers to cough up an extra $2.99 per month.

Some viewers may rightly feel aggrieved by Amazon’s move, as it’s really tantamount to a price increase for viewers that want to access exactly the same service as before, with no ad interruptions. More to the point, it comes just one year after Amazon’s most recent price increase, when it upped the cost of a monthly subscription from £7.99 a month.

According to Amazon, the introduction of ads will enable the company to continue investing in compelling content. In its announcement, it said Prime Video shows and movies will not come with “limited advertisements” though it insisted that it aims to have “meaningfully fewer ads” than other streaming service providers and linear TV channels.

The company said existing Amazon Prime subscribers won’t have to do anything new, so long as they’re willing to put up with the odd advertisement being thrown at them. It promised it will send out further communications in future with details on how to upgrade your Prime membership if you don’t want to sit through the ads and are happy to pay more.

It seems likely that Amazon’s ad-free tier will likely be similarly priced to Netflix’s Standard ad-free package, which currently costs £10.99 per month. Then again, it may cost even more than that, as Netflix’s ad-supported tier is priced at just £4.99 a month.

Some users may not mind the ads. Amazon already rolls out short teasers of over shows on its roster before it starts streaming a new movie or TV show, after all.

It’s also worth remembering that an Amazon Prime membership provides access to tons of different benefits, not limited to Amazon Prime Video. One of the main advantages of Amazon Prime is its two-day shipping guarantee on millions of eligible products you can buy from its retail site, with some even eligible for same-day deliveries if they live in a major city.

Other benefits include access to thousands of different books, comics and magazines through Amazon’s Kindle and Fire devices, as well as any iOS or Android device via the Kindle app. It also provides unlimited streaming of more than 2 million songs with Amazon Music Prime, and – if you live in the U.S. – you also get a 10% discount on hundreds of eligible products sold at Whole Foods Market, both in stores and online. Amazon Prime Gaming is another perk, providing free access to dozens of top PC games, a monthly Twitch subscription and other benefits.