Amazon’s Bold Move: Paying to Watch Commercials – Are You Ready for the Twist?

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The next stop is the Twilight Zone.

The worst possible scenario is to be submitted for your disapproval. Amazon Prime Video is available for a monthly or annual fee, but they still force you to watch commercials.

Seattle’s megaretailer puts the best spin on it by explaining that “Prime Video Ads can help brands connect to audiences through premium streaming video content.”

Oh, but that benefit is for advertisers and not Prime members.

The ads began this week, whether they are beneficial to viewers or not.

Amazon’s decision, though irritating, was probably inevitable. Prime Video cost Amazon a lot to produce and deliver, but it didn’t produce any revenue that Amazon could see. Prime Video may have been the reason people chose Prime, or not. Prime Video became a revenue-generating machine overnight when ads were added, or some members paid the $3 per month ransom for ad-free viewing.

Amazon Prime was introduced in 2005 with a very simple pitch. Members could enjoy two-day and overnight shipping for $79 per year. The offer was sent to me via email one morning, and I became a member within 60 seconds.

Amazon continued to add more and better offers to Prime to encourage more people to join. The original membership fee, adjusted for inflation, would have been $126 today, but it has now been increased to $139.

The Rings of Power, a billion-dollar train wreck that Amazon Prime calls. You, dear Prime Member, are the one who has to pay for that Tolkien lite white elephant.

You’ll have to either watch commercials for shows that you already pay real money to see, or you will be charged $175 per year to join Prime.

Ouch.

However, “inevitable” does not mean “viewers are going to like this.”

On social media, you’ll find sentiments similar to this one.

In a semi-related matter, I have just canceled all 43 of my Amazon Subscribe and Save items. I spent more than an hour trying to resolve a missed delivery, which included incomplete refunds. This was over two online chats and one phone conversation.

Now I’m wondering if “free shipping” is worth $139, or even $175 per year. I feel like a fool for paying such a high amount of money when Jezz Bezos dresses up like a cowboy disco and dates a woman who is determined to look like an actress.

The American television experience peaked around the turn of this century. You were probably paying your cable provider a large monthly fee for a huge bundle of channels, most of which you never watched. The two major pluses outweighed the downsides. The majority of new shows were now in HD, and the TiVo device (or knockoff) offered all the conveniences of streaming with the option to skip commercials.

In the Second Golden Age of Television HBO would happily take $12 a month from you and all the ads that were shown to you were for the new episode of ‘The Sopranos’ on Sunday. You only saw the ads if, without TiVo and HBO, you wanted to watch the show.

But these glory days will never return and we have to pay the price.