Amazon Prime Video’s Upcoming Ads Spark Fury In The UK

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The adverts are coming – for real: This week, Amazon has started sending out notifications to its Prime Video subscribers, delivering a piece of unexpected news that’s quickly turning heads: adverts are soon to be a part of their streaming experience.

These emails, marking the countdown to February 5, 2024, have taken many by surprise (even though we reported about the upcoming change a couple of weeks ago), igniting a wave of discontent among its loyal user base on social media.

Amidst this shift from ad-free viewing to an ad-inclusive model, Amazon offers a ray of hope: for an additional £2.99 per month, subscribers can retain their ad-free experience.

This option, however, is stirring up its own set of debates, with some subscribers considering it and others now comparing Prime Video to Amazon’s existing ad-supported streaming service, Freevee.

Why Are Adverts Being Added To Prime Video?

Since its inception, Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service was known for its ad-free, binge-encouraging experience.

Amazon Prime Video on tablet with popcorn

But in a significant shift for the service in the UK (as well as several other countries), adverts are slated to be introduced from February 5, 2024.

This change applies to both new and existing subscribers, who will start seeing adverts when watching TV shows and films included in their Prime Video subscription.

Rented or purchased content will remain ad-free.

Amazon’s decision to add adverts aligns with its goal to continue investing in high-quality content. According to official communications, Amazon is determined to keep the number of adverts limited, aiming to have fewer ads compared to linear TV and other streaming providers.

Man watching pop up advert on TV ads

However, this development essentially represents a price increase for those preferring an ad-free experience.

To maintain the uninterrupted viewing, users will need to pay an additional £2.99 per month, and users can already pre-register for this optional add-on.

This new model means a total cost of approximately £130/year for Amazon Prime with an ad-free Prime Video service, compared to the current £95/year for Amazon Prime (or £72/year for the standalone Prime Video option).

Amazon Prime Video ad-free pre-registration
Prime Video Ad-Free Pre-Registration

Brits Just Finding Out About Prime Video’s Adverts

Even though many outlets (including Cord Busters) reported about the upcoming change a couple of weeks ago, many Amazon Prime subscribers are only now starting to get notification e-mails from Amazon (which makes sense – one month before the upcoming change).

The e-mail from Amazon states:

“We are writing to you today about an upcoming change to your Prime Video experience. Starting February 5, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements.

This will allow us to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time. We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers.

No action is required from you, and there is no change to the current price of your Prime membership. We will also offer a new ad-free option for an additional £2.99 per month”

As expected, many subscribers (in the UK and the US) have now taken to social media to complain about the upcoming changes.

With many paying for Amazon Prime annually – some are angry that this significant change is happening in the middle of their existing subscription period.

Some are saying that it should be the other way around – asking for an option to remove Prime Video from the Amazon Prime subscription altogether – for a reduced price.

Generally speaking – people on social media are not happy.

Is Prime Video Turning Into Freevee?

Interestingly, Amazon already has an ad-supported streaming service: Freevee – and some users are questioning whether Prime Video is now turning into the second Freevee.

Amazon Freevee, previously known as IMDb TV, is an ad-supported streaming service offering a diverse mix of premium movies, TV shows, and Originals, all available for free.

Freevee app bosch
Freevee

Freevee features premium originals, including crime drama Bosch: Legacy, home-design series Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis, and the service’s first Original film, Love Accidentally, as well as many other premium and not-so-premium shows and films.

Last year, Freevee even added content from NBCUniversal, UKTV, and MGM, ranging from comedy to reality TV.

One of the notable aspects of Freevee is that while it requires a free Amazon account for access, it does not necessitate an Amazon Prime subscription, making it a more accessible option for a broader audience.

Freevee new channels collage

The service is compatible with a variety of platforms, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Fire Tablets, the Prime Video app, Google TV, Android TV OS devices, as well as Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

Of course, the only catch for viewers is the presence of adverts during the streaming experience.

Amazon’s Prime Video, on the other hand, is, well, “more” Premium than Freevee, with a larger library of content, and a long list of big-budget originals, such as The Boys, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Wheel Of Time and many others.

Lord Of The Rings the Rings of Power - Matt Grace Amazon
The Rings of Power (Photo: Amazon / Matt Grace)

Others are comparing Prime Video to Netflix – which also recently introduced adverts – but is now slightly cheaper.

Netflix initially introduced an ad-supported tier known as ‘Basic with Ads,’ which was later rebranded to ‘Standard with Ads’ and priced at £4.99/month.

Amazon’s standalone Prime Video plan, which doesn’t include any of the other Amazon Prime benefits, costs £5.99/month – with adverts from February 5 – so it’ll be £1/month more than Netflix with Ads.

Get A Free Prime Video Trial And Watch Without Adverts

If you’re not already subscribed to Amazon Prime or Prime Video, you can get a free 30-day trial.

And since there’s about a month until adverts will be added to Prime Video – if you sign up for the free trial now, you can use that month to watch everything you’re interested in on the service – without paying, and without adverts – and then cancel.

Of course, it means you’ll have a lot of sitting and watching to do – but what else is there to do during the cold nights of January?

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man watchin streaming tv on tablet

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