Amazon first started including Prime Video as a Prime membership benefit in 2011. Over the years, the company's video-on-demand service has become easily accessible on smart TVs, Fire TV, and other streaming devices, with the added bonus of being ad-free. streaming platform. Stream thousands of TV shows and movies, including originals like The Boys and Invincible.
Now, Prime Video is the latest service to get into the advertising game, but it's not about offering cheaper quotas. Ads started on January 29th in the US and are the default way to watch most content on the platform unless you want to pay an extra $3 a month to stream ad-free. If you have a standalone Prime Video subscription that isn't tied to your Prime membership, going commercial-free will jump your monthly price from $9 to $12.
I spent some time testing the new ad experience, comparing it to other streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Max, and Hulu. CNET analyzed what streaming with commercials is like across all major platforms and found that some have much heavier ad loads than others. Even compared to Freevee, Amazon's free ad-supported streamer, Prime Video falls short.
Do I need to pay to upgrade my account to watch without ads? Among its competitors, Prime Video is the least expensive to upgrade, but you can pay extra to go ad-free. Some may feel worthless. Read on to see what we learned and what to consider when trying out streaming with commercial breaks.
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Prime Video's ad load is quite light.
When Amazon made it first announcement Last September, the company said its addition of commercials to Prime Video “aims to have significantly fewer ads than terrestrial TV and other streaming TV providers.” So far, that promise has been fulfilled, but the commercial breaks felt short. Not all titles have ads. Downloaded episodes do not contain commercials, and some content does not display ads in the middle of the video.
For example, Mr. and Mrs. Smith did not display any ads before, during, or after the show, even when the next episode was streaming on autoplay. I don't know if it was a glitch or not, but the Amazon Original Series played ad-free for several episodes. He had a 15-second ad before The Underdogs (98 minutes running time), but no other commercials.
Breaks were random and varied in placement and length, but all ad breaks were less than 1 minute. The Secret of Nim has a 30-second pre-roll, and in the middle of the movie he has two commercial breaks. The first one is 15 seconds and the second one is about 30 seconds. I didn't see any ads while streaming Hazbin Hotel or Asteroid City, but Reacher was a little different.
In one episode of the series, the commercial pre-roll lasted approximately 50 seconds. Another episode in season 2 had a 27-second pre-roll and a 15-second break in the middle. On his hour-long episode of “The Boys,'' at the beginning he watched a 30-second ad, and later in the episode he watched a 15-second commercial. Meanwhile, a 53-minute episode of Heroes had two ad breaks, each consisting of one commercial, one 33 seconds long and one 15 seconds long.
Viewers can see a countdown of the number and length of ads. If you use the Prime Video mobile app, a series of pre-show ads will countdown to let you know when the show starts. Also note that on-demand content allows you to track ad breaks with a progress bar.
Overall, Prime Video's commercial breaks are shorter than competitors like Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Paramount Plus.
Live content also contains advertisements
You won't see commercials when you stream titles you rent or buy on Prime Video, but that's not the case with live content. Live sports like the NFL's Thursday Night Football and the National Women's Soccer League contain ads, as does free network television like CBS News.
This applies to live content included on Prime Video. Other shows that are part of third-party subscription services, such as Paramount Plus and Max, will only air ads if you subscribe to an ad-supported plan for that particular platform (such as Paramount Plus Essential). Although Freevee is a separate platform, its live channel can be streamed within the Prime Video app and includes commercials.
What about children's content?
Prime Video doesn't show commercials in children's profiles, but they may show ads if you're watching a family-friendly title on an adult profile. For example, The Portable Door was intended for ages 13 and up, and the film included a pre-roll that included two advertisements for him.
Titles like “The Bad Guys,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” and “Paw Patrol: The Movie” streamed commercial-free on both kids and adult profiles. The PG-rated “Escape from Planet Earth” was also commercial-free. Prime Video content is mixed with his Freevee content on the app, so some children's titles will show ads if you're streaming with an adult profile. The curated kids profile only includes titles from Prime Video, not Freevee, and some parents may find that the selection of TV shows and movies is sufficient.
Much of Prime Video's children's content is ad-free, so it's up to you whether you want to use a designated kids profile or watch family-friendly titles on an adult profile.
Need to upgrade to ad-free?
Unlike Netflix, Prime Video doesn't cut out or limit ad-supported content. Since this is the default version of the streaming service, you won't be able to choose between multiple subscription tiers and there's no way to opt in or out. Your only bet is to pay an extra $3 per month to stream ad-free. The ad load is light, so if you can tolerate short breaks on the platform, save yourself a few bucks.