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Amazon Reportedly Eyeing Ad-Supported Prime Video

13 Nov, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon reportedly is considering an ad-supported free version of Prime Video — the over-the-top video service currently available with the $99 Prime membership, and separately for $10.99 monthly.

The ad-supported Prime Video would share revenue and audience viewership data with content with TV networks, studios and related media companies, according to AdAge.com, which cited sources familiar with the situation and industry.

Amazon currently streams NFL Thursday Night Football games with limited embedded advertising. It recently revealed 7.1 million views for the first four streamed games.

Yet, the e-commerce giant, along with Netflix, has long championed SVOD service without commercials. Rival Hulu charges a premium for ad-free content.

The move toward ad-supported content would represent a double-edged sword of sorts. With advertising come viewership requirements to attract and appease advertisers.

Netflix defends not releasing viewership data for original programming by the fact it doesn’t have advertisers to answer to.

Amazon, which remains secretive of its Prime memberships and Prime Video users, would have to disclose ratings data to advertisers.

Amazon is spending upwards of $5 billion on original content this year as video (and music) continues to resonate with consumers and drive traction across the company’s e-commerce platform. Speaking on a recent fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said video drives better conversion of free Prime trials, higher Prime membership renewal rates and higher overall engagement.

“We have a lot of data … that we see the viewing patterns and we see the sales patterns. So, we tie the two together and understand what video resonates with Prime members, which video doesn’t and make mid-course corrections,” Olsavsky said.

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