Update: An Amazon spokesperson reached out to CinemaBlend and stated, on the record, "We have no plans to create a free, ad-supported version of Prime Video." The original story is below.
While Netflix and Disney appear on the verge of war, Amazon is reportedly quietly making moves with its streaming service that might be of interest to consumers. If what's being reported is accurate, the network is currently in discussions to make their Prime catalog of television shows and films free, although there is a catch. While it would be great if the folks in charge at Amazon just made things free for everyone out of the goodness of their hearts, the money has to come from somewhere, and it definitely will if the company goes ahead with a possible plan to make Amazon Prime Video an ad-supported service.
That's, of course, provided this news is true. Amazon's alleged plans come from AdAge, and the current word is that Amazon is looking to make Amazon Prime Video free in exchange for viewers watching ads. The ads will grant advertisers an opportunity to sell things in the world of online streaming as traditional cable TV continues a slow fade into obsoletion. It's not exactly a new idea, since other streaming services have offered similar things in the past, but Amazon is sweetening the deal for content creators in a way few others have.
Apparently, Amazon is discussing sharing ad-revenue with its content creators and even audience information, which sounds just vague enough to give some privacy concerns to consumers. While not ideal on the consumer side, having access to the buying habits of a group of users who buy enough things online that they have a subscription to Amazon Prime make it cheaper sounds like a dream. It's a dream for Amazon as well, and there are hopes that in making a free version of Amazon Video available, Amazon will be able to increase its number of Prime subscriptions from the folks who will finally get sick of the commercials.
On the positive side, Amazon is allegedly already in talks with television networks and film studios to gauge their interest in being a part of this deal. So, while commercials may be making their way into one of the major streaming services, it sounds like more content beyond what's already offered by the service could be added if Amazon Prime Video goes ad-supported. Additionally, some of the originals in Amazon's library like Mozart In The Jungle or The Man In High Castle might find a larger audience and start getting Stranger Things levels of hype.
For now, Amazon Prime Video remains a service to subscribers only, and until Amazon says otherwise, that's how it's going to be. Even so, the news is really exciting to hear, considering the company officially has a Lord of the Rings show in the works. Read more on that or take a look at what else fall has in store as far as television on our fall premiere guide. For a list of shows that just didn't cut the mustard in 2017, visit our cancellation guide.