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Amazon Prime Video Adds to Viewer Confusion with Freevee Content Swap and Potential Ad Tier

Freevee and Amazon Prime Video logos side by side

The Take

  • Amid reports of Prime exploring an ad tier for Prime Video, the company is bulking up on Freevee offerings.
  • Freevee, Amazon’s free ad-supported network, already offers exclusive Amazon Prime Video content plus 280 streaming channels.
  • Freevee is a helpful offering from Amazon Prime Video, but its inclusion can confuse viewers who want to watch programs ad-free with their Prime subscription.
  • Adding an ad tier would confuse things, especially since Prime and Freevee have been swapping programming back and forth.

Amazon is exploring the possibility of an ad tier for its popular subscription-based Amazon Prime Video streaming service. The ad tier would be a surprising addition considering Amazon already has a free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel that includes over 280 channels.

Freevee also announced the launch of 23 additional channels, including 12 from MGM and 11 from Warner Bros. Discovery. The MGM channel is unsurprising since Amazon owns MGM Studios, while the Warner Bros. Discovery channels were expected after the studio pulled some of its content from Max and announced a move to FAST channels.

These channels will be accessible through Amazon and join the channels on Freevee that already stream free Amazon Prime Video content.

Freevee is Amazon Prime Video’s FAST channel, which includes cable-style channels and free original content. Freevee can be accessed through Amazon and advertises live 24/7 entertainment channels.

The programming question with FAST

Free ad-supported television (FAST) platforms like Freevee are designed to mimic cable with a mix of channels and content to keep viewers engaged. Plus, there’s the opportunity to channel surf!

Freevee operates like all the other FAST platforms—including Tubi, Pluto, and Ruko—except it has many more partnership opportunities with its parent company. While FOX sent the World Cup games to Tubi, most other platforms tend to keep the corporate synergy separate and focus instead on the channel offerings and limited original content.

Not so with Freevee. In May, Amazon announced that 100 of its original movies and TV shows would air on Freevee, bridging the content gap. Some were timed to match with new season premieres on Prime Video, and others went to grow their audiences. (The programming still lives on Prime Video ad-free for subscribers.)

The shifting of content could confuse viewers who don’t know where to watch their favorite shows when they sign on to Prime. To make things even more confusing, Prime announced this week it would start streaming some Freevee originals (like High School) ad-free on Prime Video for subscribers.

Where does Amazon want you to watch?

This is the big question. If Amazon Prime Video introduces an ad tier, what makes it different from Freevee? There’s already Prime Video content on Freevee and vice-versa, so what differentiates the platforms besides price?

And does it make sense for consumers to pay for Amazon Prime Video if Freevee is, well, free?

FAST channels are designed to be affordable and offer choice, making Freevee a great option for consumers. Gutting it in place of an ad tier for Prime Video or introducing a third option for Amazon customers will make it confusing for viewers to find shows like Jury Duty and High School on a platform that’s already notoriously hard to navigate.

While the discussions on Prime Video’s future are still in the early stages, it’s worth thinking about your viewing habits and how many more streaming services you can, or want to, keep track of.

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