Prime Video viewers threaten to cancel over Amazon's paid ad-free tier

The streaming service is facing a backlash after announcing customers will have to pay to continue watching ad-free.

INDIA - 2024/01/03: In this photo illustration, an amazon prime video logo is seen displayed on a mobile phone screen. (Photo Illustration by Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Amazon Prime Video is set to charge for an ad-free tier. (LightRocket via Getty Images)

Amazon Prime Video is facing a backlash from subscribers after announcing people will need to pay to keep watching ad-free, with customers threatening to cancel over the charge.

The streaming service has so far been ad-free for all subscribers, but has released a statement explaining that content will now include advertising - which customers can opt out of for £2.99 a month.

But the news sparked an angry reaction as some customers predicted that the "streaming bubble had burst", while others vowed to cancel their membership.

Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Prime Video)
Shows including The Rings of Power could now be interrupted by ads. (Prime Video)

A message sent out to Prime Video customers read: "Starting February 5, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements. 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 ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers.

"No action is required from you, and there is no change to the current price of your Prime membership. We will also offer a new ad-free option for an additional £2.99 per month."

But subscribers were unimpressed, as one person commented on X: "So now #AmazonPrime have added an Ad free tier for more money. I can honestly see the streaming bubble burst, two of the biggest appeals of streaming is no ads and the prices weren’t too bad. Now though as companies continue to be greedy it’s us that suffer."

Clarkson's Farm (Prime Video)
Clarkson's Farm has been a hit for the streaming service. (Prime Video)

Someone else agreed: "For me the best thing about streaming services is that I don't have to watch adverts with "the message" rammed down my throat via adverts. I rarely watch #AmazonPrime and it will be watched even less by me now."

Another customer added: "#AmazonPrime trending cos they're adding another pay tier for us if we want ad-free watching. This will just grow my bluray library. Feels like streaming is about to come full circle - the glory days have gone. Services are now like channels but you have to pay for each channel."

Many others threatened to cancel their subscriptions in protest at the adverts and charge. One person commented: "The whole point of paying £7.99 is to NOT have adverts. I may as well just cancel and suck up the adverts then. Bad move."

The Boys
Subscribers will need to pay to keep ads out of shows including The Boys. (Prime Video)

Someone else wrote: "No, #AmazonPrime, I'm not paying an additional £2.99 for a service you've provided for years up to this point. You have already increased your prices. You can…."

Another person added: "Hi #AmazonPrime. I note that you've increased your prices for ad-free service by 30%. Please note that we will be cancelling our subscription. I hope all of you involved in this decision have a s****y year. You're welcome."

Someone else wrote: "Cancelling my account forthwith £10.99 a month is just too much. £132 a year? Who are you kidding?"

One customer suggested: "Time to cancel #AmazonPrimeIf they introduced a cheaper tier with adverts included then it wouldn't be as bad. But forcing people to pay more to avoid the onslaught of adverts when streaming isn't good customer service."

Amazon's Prime Video streaming service launched in 2006, with recent hits in its original series including the mega budget Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, as well as Clarkson's Farm, The Wheel of Time and The Boys.

Read more: Prime Video