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Amazon Prime Video ads are about to get so much more annoying

Published May 8th, 2024 11:34AM EDT
Fallout is now streaming on Prime Video.
Image: Amazon Studios

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When Amazon announced it would place ads in the Prime Video streaming experience you get for free with your Amazon Prime subscription, it didn’t seem like a big deal. Yes, Amazon forced current subscribers to pay an extra $3 per month to avoid ads. But then again, everyone in the industry has a cheap plan with ads. And Prime Video is an additional perk you get with your Amazon Prime subscription at no additional cost.

But Amazon is pushing forward with new strategies to monetize its streaming service. That is, Prime Video ads might get even more annoying in the near future. For example, Amazon might show you Amazon products in a carousel whenever you pause a movie or show.

Amazon detailed the new Prime Video ads initiatives in a blog post, making it sound like something users might actually want:

Ahead of Amazon’s debut upfront presentation on May 14 at Pier 36 in New York City, Amazon Ads unveiled an expanded suite of new interactive and shoppable ad formats for Prime Video with remote-enabled capabilities for living-room devices. These formats go far beyond QR codes, making it easier for viewers to connect with brands while enjoying the premium streaming entertainment content they love.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want when streaming a movie or TV show is to connect with brands of any kind. I realize, however, that I might not speak for all viewers. Amazon says that its data shows Prime Video users like interactive ads more than non-interactive clips. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the former can boost Amazon’s traffic and sales.

Role Play on Prime Video
Kaley Cuoco and Bill Nighy in Prime Video’s “Role Play.” Image source: Prime Video

Amazon will offer advertisers three different types of new Prime Video ads. The shoppable carousel ads will show Amazon products during ad breaks on Prime video. These ads will let you shop on Amazon:

Brands can present a sliding lineup of their products that customers can explore on Amazon and add to their cart using most living-room remotes. The ad automatically pauses so that customers can browse, and automatically resumes play when ad interaction has stopped.

Then there’s the interactive pause ads. When you pause a movie or TV show, you might see ads that let you interact with them:

These ads extend the engagement opportunity beyond a traditional ad break, as the interactive overlay is available to customers for as long as the content is paused. With a click of their remote, customers can easily add the product to their Amazon cart, get more information sent to their email, and resume their stream at any time.

Finally, Amazon proposes interactive brand trivia ads. These commercials will let brands offer facts about their products in a supposedly entertaining way. The interactive ads might even reward viewers.

It’s unclear when Amazon will start showing these ads. However, the company wants to improve its ad-based revenue from Prime Video. Amazon says Prime Video “has an average monthly ad-supported reach of over 200 million global customers,” which should get advertisers drooling. Then again, Amazon forced ads on all Amazon Prime subscribers, so that figure is easy to explain.

To avoid these new Amazon ads, you’ll need to pay the extra $3 fee that liberates you from the ad-based Prime Video streaming. It depends on how much Prime Video content you watch and whether you want to buy Amazon products during ad breaks.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.