Amazon Prime Video is, without doubt, one of my favourite streaming services. In terms of both content and the quality of the video streams it’s a very solid performer. However it’s not without its irritations, and the latest I think is pushing things a bit far, namely the addition of pre-roll ads for Amazon shows. These ads play at the start of a TV show or movie, and if you’re binging a series they appear between each episode.
The problem with this decision is that it can really take you out of a show. The whole point of watching episodes back-to-back is to stay immersed in the world. Not to be brought crashing out with a ludicrous advert for Richard Hammond horsing around on a beach. No Amazon, no amount of promotion will persuade me to watch that hot mess.
What’s perhaps most bothersome about this is that Amazon is trying to wear us down. The company has placed ads like this before, and has eventually stopped. I can only assume that it’s because people have complained in significant enough numbers to make a difference. Or perhaps people like me write articles like this and Jeff reads them and picks up the phone to those chuckle-heads down in the video department and reads them the riot act.
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Reddit and other forums online have noticed this before. I found complaints about this in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Some of them are about this specific issue, while some are about an IMDB channel that Amazon also operates. But there are more than enough people who are annoyed by these ads for this to be a problem for the company. I’m unsure if they view Prime Video as a nice extra that people should be grateful for, on top of expedited shipping. But I personally don’t pay Amazon for the shipping, I don’t buy enough stuff to justify it. My Prime is all about video, that’s what keeps me subscribed month-in month-out. Otherwise I’d just turn it on for Christmas shopping and perhaps Black Friday.
It’s also the thin end of the wedge. If Amazon doesn’t get complaints about this, it’s going to keep doing it. The ads will get longer or there will be more of them. Eventually it will push out proper commercials too, if it thinks it can get away with it. At the very least we’ll see Amazon product ads for Ring doorbells, etc. It has to be told that this isn’t on. Even Netflix’s stupid previews are less irritating than this, and those things have their own circle of hell.
And what’s worse - Amazon serves these ads from the same place as the shows and movies. That means that there’s not a simple way to use an ad blocker on them. Even tools like PiHole can’t prevent this sort of advertising, it simply looks like it’s part of what you’re watching.
To paraphrase a Reddit user - you could just torrent these shows and not see a single ad. And Amazon should consider that. People will be annoyed and they will cancel their subscriptions. In this day and age there are more than enough alternatives to keep people busy - after all, Disney+ doesn’t pull this sort of stunt and it has some great extra features too which I’ve previously said isn't a rival for Netflix, because it's better. So come on Amazon. Stop it, this is just not a desirable feature for a premium streaming service.