You’ll be paying extra for ad-free Prime Video come January

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screenshot of Prime Video homepage with logo to the left

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon confirmed today in an email to Prime members that it will begin showing ads alongside its streaming Prime Video content starting January 29, 2024. The price will remain the same, but subscribers who don’t wish to see any ads will have to pay an additional $2.99 per month on top of their monthly or yearly Amazon Prime subscription. The change was first reported back in September.

“Starting January 29, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements,” Amazon wrote in an email sent to Amazon Prime subscribers. “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 linear TV and other streaming TV providers. No action is required from you, and there is no change to the current price of your Prime membership.”

Subscribers who want to avoid ads can sign up for the extra monthly fee at the Prime Video website.

Prime Video isn’t the only streaming platform looking to increase revenues via ad-supported tiers and price hikes in a challenging economic environment: both Disney+ and Netflix, among others, have hiked their prices in recent months. HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+ all introduced lower-priced ad-supported options, and Netflix launched an ad-supported tier last year for $6.99 per month.

Netflix did recently grant subscribers an ad-free episode for every three episodes watched, as well as downloadable content. However, this was apparently designed to help advertisers “[tap] into the viewing behavior of watching multiple episodes in a row,” per the November Netflix announcement.

Disney+ and the Disney-controlled Hulu increased prices starting in October. The ad-free tier of Disney+ rose from $11 to $14 a month, while ad-free Hulu increased from $14 to $18 a month. Both services are also offered together for $20 a month, and the ad-supported tiers maintained their current pricing; both strategies seem intended to drive viewers to either sign up for multiple services or drop down to an ad-supported tier. This is the second price hike for both services in the last calendar year.

Apple TV+ announced monthly price hikes for several online services in October, including its catchall Apple One subscription service in October. Apple TV+ jumped from $6.99 to $9.99 per month, while Apple Arcade went from $4.99 to $6.99 monthly. Apple News+ used to cost $9.99 per month, but now it’s $12.99. “Raising these prices helps Apple stay attractive to shareholders even amidst the tricky economic context—or at least it will if consumers agree to keep paying,” Ars Senior Editor Sam Axon wrote at the time. “Raising prices too much could drive customers away; Apple seems to be betting that that will not be the case this time.”

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