February 25, 2024

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Your favorite programming in Prime Video will now be interrupted by ads. The streaming service is one of the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership and was ad-free until now. Users who would rather skip the commercials and stick with the ad-free service will have to pay $2.99 per month on top of the cost of a Prime subscription. 

No one wants to learn their streaming service will start showing ads, except for maybe the service provider and advertisers themselves, but are ads reason enough to cancel? They appear to be for some subscribers, at least according to the Wall Street Journal.

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But canceling Prime to show dislike of Amazon’s new ad policy for Prime Video involves losing a lot of benefits and, unfortunately, may not have the impact many think. 

Anyone canceling Prime due to the new advertising on Prime Video would miss out on Amazon’s free two-day, one-day, and same-day shipping, not to mention Prime Music, Reading, Gaming, Amazon Photos, Whole Foods discounts, Subscribe-and-save, Fresh, and the Prime-exclusive deals available on the site, including during Prime Day. 

Amazon isn’t the least concerned that introducing commercials in Prime Video will result in a user exodus, remaining confident in its membership retention and a growing number of new subscribers. According to a recent Variety article, only 15% of Prime members say they would cancel their subscription due to ads on Prime Video, while only 9% say they would pay $2.99 monthly to forgo ads. The remaining 76% would either use the service less, the same amount, or already don’t use it at all.

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But with a range of streaming services adding commercials, increasing their prices, and bundling their services with others, it appears that companies are shifting to an approach that has some semblance to linear television, with similar models to cable and local TV.

Many of us abandoned linear TV years ago due to high prices and lack of flexibility, but most of us did so because paying $8 a month for a Netflix subscription made more sense than paying over $80 a month for cable. But with 83% of Americans having at least one streaming-service subscription, many are now experiencing subscription fatigue.

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How many video-streaming subscriptions do you have right now? According to another story by the Wall Street Journal, the average American household had over four streaming-service subscriptions in 2023; other sources say 86% of Americans are subscribed to more than one streaming service. Unfortunately, that trend is easy to recognize — I have seven. 

With so many streaming services, It’s hard to believe I’d be unable to find something to watch. But the overload of choices makes it hard to choose, at least for me and 62% of Americans. Of course, seven subscriptions are about four or five too many, as the content overlap can make them redundant and keeping track of them all is a hassle.

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But Americans have nearly doubled the number of subscriptions they have in the past five years and the monthly cost of those services adds up. The average American spends about $48 a month on streaming services, according to a report by consultant Deloitte. I’ll certainly be canceling several of my streaming subscriptions, especially after realizing they cost me $73 a month. 

As company’s increase prices and add advertising, many of us are coming to the realization that we aren’t all that happy with our subscription services. I did a personal audit of my streaming-service subscriptions and realized I could do without several — I urge you to do the same.