Amazon Prime Video adds more ads to its streaming service

Mike Wheatley

The race among TV platform providers to add more ads to their services is gathering pace, with Amazon set to be the latest company to ramp up that side of its business.


The company has announced the imminent rollout of pause ads, carousel ads and brand trivia ads, which will be added to the existing ad breaks already seen by some subscribers to Amazon Prime Video.

In recent months, rivals such as Netflix and Disney Plus has joined Amazon in implementing ad-supported subscription tiers to their video streaming services, giving consumers the option to pay a lower price in return for the minor inconvenience. These lower subscription tiers also tend to eliminate premium features such as 4K resolution content, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound, as well as the ability to download content for offline viewing.

Having launched its ad-supported tier, Amazon is now looking to ramp things up. The company’s basic plan, which launched in February in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, costs £3 per month and will now subject viewers to ads whenever they hit the pause button on their remote.

Flatpanels HD says it’s not clear if these ads will affect Prime Video’s X-Ray feature, which shows information about the actor or actress on screen at the time the user presses pause, plus information about the actual content and background music. It would be sad if this feature were to disappear entirely, but it would help to make Amazon’s more expensive subscription tiers look more attractive. Alternatively, it may just be that Amazon intends to show it only after the pause ads have been shown.

Amazon said its pause ads will feature “brand messaging and imagery” and there will be an “add to cart” button and “learn more” button that takes users to In other words, it’s about selling products from its massive online retail store.

As for the carousel ads, these will appear as a selection of products available to buy from Amazon, which users can cycle through and add to their shopping cart via the TV remote. Finally, there will be interactive brand trivia ads, which gives companies the opportunity to engage with viewers by sharing some fun facts about their brand or products, as well as a direct link to purchase their products on Amazon.

Amazon Prime Video was the last of the major streaming services to add an ad-supported subscription tier, but it now appears to be making up for lost time with its innovative new ad concepts, which increasingly appear to prioritize the needs of advertisers with their increased flexibility.

Amazon was late to the ads game, but is now positioning itself to advertisers as a pioneer in transforming streaming advertising, prioritizing advertisers' needs over the user experience of a paid streaming product.

"We are developing innovative experiences to help brands better engage with customers, as we work to transform streaming advertising through our differentiated combination of reach, first-party signals, and ad tech,” said Alan Moss, VP of global ad sales for Amazon Ads. “Ads in Prime Video provide an unparalleled experience for advertisers to deliver on any full-funnel marketing objective—whether it’s awareness, consideration, or conversion

Fortunately, viewers can still escape the ads by paying for Amazon Prime Video’s most expensive subscription tier, but they are unlikely to emerge unscathed from this trend. That's because it’s not only the video streaming service providers, but also TV platform providers such as Roku, Google and others, that are also embracing the ad trend.

For instance, Roku recently announced it will bring full-screen video ads to its home page, while YouTube is also experimenting with pause ads. The likes of Fire TV, LG with its webOS platform, and Samsung with its Tizen platform, are also looking at ways to monetize via advertising.

The days of ad-free viewing, which was one of the major unspoken advantages of the switch from live broadcasts to streaming services, appear to be coming to an end.