Amazon is said to be working on an ad-supported and free version of the Prime video streaming service. The service generally costs Rs 999 in India and $99 in the US, and is ad-free.
According to a report by AdAge, this may change soon as Amazon is trying out the freemium model for the Prime video service. The report states that Amazon is in talks with TV studios, movie studios as well as other media companies for providing programming for the service. So non-Prime members could get a free version of Amazon Prime with advertisements. Amazon is expected to share audience information and ad revenue to get the project off the ground initially.
Considering most streaming services, at least the subscription-based paid ones offer an ad-free experience, it has hit the traditional TV market which runs on advertising. There has been a gradual shift away from traditional TV viewership, as people prefer to watch their favourite TV shows online, in an ad-free environment. Services such as Netflix and Prime (in its current form) do not provide any scope for advertising unless its content itself they are advertising.
The video streaming space is heating up and more recently, even Facebook has jumped on to the bandwagon. It's video streaming service Watch has already gone live with dedicated shows made for the Facebook audience. But the differentiating factor is that these shows are available to watch for free, and most of them are interrupted by advertisements. According to AdAge, even Apple has outbid Netflix for a new series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
One of the executives aware of the matter and speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Amazon is in talks with giving content creators their own channels and sharing ad revenue in exchange for a set number of hours of content per week.
AdAge says that the ad-supported version of Prime video will have a lot of back catalog from Amazon which will include children's programming as well as lifestyle shows.
Amazon has officially not commented on the matter.