In addition to the possibility of an ad-supported Prime Video tier, Amazon might also introduce ad-supported versions of the Max and Paramount Plus Prime Video Channels in the future. This is something we think makes a lot of sense for everyone involved.
When it comes to the ad-supported version of Prime Video, it remains to be seen how popular that would realistically be. A good number of Prime Video subscribers are subscribed through their Amazon Prime membership, and for those that only want access to the video catalog, there’s the option to only sign up to Prime Video at a cheaper $8.99 per month rate.
Even though an even cheaper, ad-supported plan will offer another layer and option, it’s unclear how many people not signed up to Prime and not wanting an ad-free viewing experience would sign up for a standalone ‘with ads’ tier. Especially when the same subscription cost could be better spent on other services.
Ad-supported versions of Prime Video Channels, like Max and Paramount Plus, are a completely different story. Many people do use marketplaces like Prime Video to subscribe to third-party services, as it makes managing multiple subscriptions much easier. The downside, however, is these market places typically only provide access to the ad-free plans.
More specifically, only access to one tier. For example, the launch of Max resulted in the addition of another ad-free plan, the Ultimate Ad-Free plan. However, signing up to Max through Prime Video Channels only offers the option of the standard ad-free plan. Even though Max offers three plans to choose from, Prime Video Channels users only have one option.
While it would be great for Prime Video Channels to offer all of the plans that a streaming service offers, the availability of ad-supported tiers would be a good start. This would make it possible for Prime users to actually choose whether they are happier to watch with ads or at a cheaper price.
In return, the streaming services themselves are also likely to see an increase in their subscriber bases. Having a cheaper advertised plan available is likely to get more people testing out a streaming service, and even if they do ultimately end up upgrading to the ad-free version to get rid of the ads.
Up until now, it’s possible that companies like Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global have preferred to keep the ‘with ads’ versions to themselves. After all, controlling the ad experience is a big deal for these companies, and ad data is likely to be as big of a business as the ads themselves. It’s always good to know that your subscribers prefer product a over b, and especially when deciding on ad rates.
Data-collection aside, one of the concerns we would have about ad-supported Prime Video Channels is the ad load. Warner Bros. Discovery has repeatedly touted Max as very light in terms of ad load, and that was also the case with HBO Max. In our opinion, Max has one of the lightest ad loads around.
However, if Amazon takes control of the ad experience, there’s no guarantee that the ad load would be as equally light (or heavy). In theory, this is something that could then impact on the perception of the service in general. For example, people thinking that Max has loads of ads.
With these points in mind, it is likely that actually getting these companies to agree to their ad-supported plans becoming available through a marketplace like Prime Video might not be that easy and is likely to be something that requires a good bit of additional negotiating compared to the ad-free versions.
Still, we think ad-supported Prime Video Channels would ultimately be a good idea, and especially for consumers, as they will gain an additional (and cheaper) option.