back to article Amazon already has a colossal ads business and will extend it to Prime Video in January

Amazon.com has emailed subscribers to its Prime Video service, in America at least, to advise them ads will start to appear in their movie and TV streams as of January 29 – unless they pay more. Prime Video is one of several services bundled into Amazon Prime, the e-tail giant’s loyalty scheme that includes free delivery on …

  1. cageordie

    No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

    Conservatively, there were at least 100 "WTF is this bullshit?" posts on Reddit alone. Prime was originally the way that members got two day shipping for free, but Amazon has rolled back the two day shipping to two business days if it's available locally. So it might actually take a week for something to reach you from the other coast of the US. If it is in stock. If it is out of stock it will get to you sometime. If you spend enough they also ship for free anyway, and usually in the same time. So if you find advertising really unacceptable, and you don't feel like adding another $36 on top of the recent Prime price rise... well there are other vendors. It will be interesting to see how many people quit Prime. When Disney+ offered to increase the price or show adverts I cancelled that. What is the upside to me of them unilaterally changing our contract only a couple of months into the contract period? Do the free-with-ads videos become $3/month without ads too? That would be something worth considering.

    Are they also going to show adverts on movies I 'own'? Do I lose access to things I 'own' if I quit Prime?

    But as it is I think I am just being screwed. I won't watch adverts. If it is intrusive I will cancel.

    1. mevets

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      I've always considered prime video and music to be a second class freebee thrown in to sweeten the deal of getting car parts without shipping fees.

      That said, there are often shows and series on prime which aren't available elsewhere. Peter Gun was a welcome example.

      So, if I have to pay 35$ a year extra for commercial free life, it would be sad. As revenge, I will order and return the shipping cost equivalent of 35$ from Amazon Basics, just to be a dick.

      To quote the great Arlo Guthrie:

      You know, if One person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and

      They won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,

      They may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.

      And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in

      Singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an

      Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said

      Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and

      Walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      I'm planning on going through my Prime purchases for the last year to figure out whether I'm really get $139 worth of value from membership, given that you still get free shipping if you spend $35 I probably don't - it is probably just convenience for making small orders I want sooner rather than waiting until I can get $35 totalled up. If so I will be canceling my Prime membership and telling them why. Maybe if enough of us do it they'll be forced to backtrack, you never know.

      I do watch Prime Video but not as often as I used to, and I would add that to my rotating list of services I subscribe to for a month to binge what I want. Walmart probably probably be the beneficiary if I decide I still want somewhere to buy stuff with free shipping. It costs about the same but they will come and pick up your returns (Amazon makes you drop them off) and Paramount+ is free which isn't a big thing but it includes a few things I watch.

      And yeah $36/yr isn't much, it is more the principle of the thing. I'm already paying $139/month - after two price increases in the last few years - and now they want me to pay more to no get ads. That's really shitty. If I was in charge of their marketing I would have announced it as a price increase to Prime, but allow people to avoid that price increase if they agree to view ads. And maybe allow people to avoid it if they drop benefits no one uses like Amazon Music. Having everything all in one bundle is stupid. Apple has it right, you can buy stuff like Apple TV+, iCloud, Apple Music, Apple News etc. separately or get it in a few bundles that save a few bucks. Amazon has always been all or nothing, but now it is worse as that "all" is now "all plus paying them ransom to avoid making the experience worse"

      1. aerogems Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

        I wonder if it will be like (HBO) Max, where even if you subscribe to the ad free tier, some shows (like Last Week Tonight) still have ads played before they start, they're just skippable. Fuck you, I paid for ad FREE not simply skippable ads. Seem to recall Amazon pulling shit like this a few years ago, only some of the ads weren't skippable. Not sure if they still do it because I so rarely use that service.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

          Hmm... I wonder if that a per country thing, I've never seen an add before any show (including Last Week Tonight) on HBO Max.

          Although I'm fuming that my cable service provider has started testing unskippable adds to watch pre-recorded TV shows.

          The future is grim, indeed.

          1. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

            Maybe it's some kind of A/B testing and my account is one of the "lucky" ones. Either way, point still stands that I paid a premium for ad FREE service, not ads, but skippable.

            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

              You have to realize how marketing executives think.

              “Here is a good thing that people like. It makes money. It will make more money if we add adverts to it. Therefore we will add adverts.”

              It’s literally on that level. Screw what the viewers want, there’s revenue targets to meet!

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

          Amazon has been doing pre-roll ads on its shows for years - usually promoting other shows, but an ad is an ad...

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

        My approach is to stick stuff in my basket as I go along, and order it once I get to the £25 threashold for free shipping.

        I actually need next-day delivery maybe once or twice a year at most, so just pay the £5 for that. £10 per year for shipping costs works out a lot less than Prime membership.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they also going to show adverts on movies I 'own'

      Do you REALLY own them?

      I avoid AMZN unless there is no other choice. Yes, I have had Prime Trials but like many, I have never gone past the month. I suspect that those trials will soon be a thing of the past.

      1. IceC0ld

        Re: Are they also going to show adverts on movies I 'own'

        there was a thread here recently on this subject - https://www.theregister.com/2023/12/22/opinion_column/

        and the answer is - NO - you do not own anything that you purchase as a digital copy, you merely lease / borrow it

        IIRC it was first brought to our attention by Bruce Willis, yes, that BW :o) - when he enquired about the 30 000 albums he had collected in digital form on Apple

        the short sharp shock answer was that on his demise, Apple would take back all copies of every track he had ever 'purchased'

        my collection, though modest, is all on the physical media, and yes, that may fail, but until it do, I can just re rip to the latest .format and keep on listening to MY music collection, same goes for the films

    4. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      Given that you can already get free delivery with a fairly modest minimum order, Prime has always been a rather curious upsell. It does seem that Amazon would much rather have a predictable regular income from services - and repeat "subscribe and save" purchases - rather than depend on the vagaries of the consumer's desire for tat. In my view, though, they're overestimating the value of their offer.

      I usually accept Amazon's free month of Prime membership around Christmas time as it simplifies present purchases as I don't have to batch them up, but I've never found a reason to keep it. Early on in its life, Prime Video had a range of archive content that might have interested me, but that's mostly gone and been replaced by slick, overproduced, identikit drama. Whatever else is on offer seems to have been targetted at what presumably they see as their most lucrative demographic and I'm clearly not part of it.

      I probably would happily pay for delivery at a time and place that suited me, but that doesn't seem to be an option that Amazon's wonderful logistics permit. Any order I would like to collect from a nearby locker always seem to contain some items that they won't send to lockers because the algorithm says they must be posted. Any order that I would like to receive at home never arrives on the day it's supposed to. And in the location I spend most of my time these days, even "Prime" delivery now typically takes over 2 weeks. But this isn't about tailoring the service to suit the customer, it's about tailoring the customer to suit the business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You can feel the skeeviness is creeping in"

        > But this isn't about tailoring the service to suit the customer, it's about tailoring the customer to suit the business.

        Bingo.

        It's been increasingly clear for years now that when I search on Amazon, they're no longer interested in showing what *I* clearly want to see, nor in offering the ability to filter out the crap their results are increasingly infested with.

        Quite the opposite. They're showing what *they* want me to see and deliberately including that crap by design- dubious sellers, items adjacent to but clearly not what I'm after, etc etc.

        Amazon today is pretty much the antithesis of the clean, efficient, trustworthy, usable experience I had when I first used their site in the late 1990s.

        I've a bookmarked comment someone made about five years back which said "Amazon is not the same company they were 10 [now 15] years ago. You can feel the skeeviness is creeping in."

        Well, the skeeviness crept in, made itself at home and today it has pretty much taken over the joint.

    5. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      I suspect the vast majority of people signed up for Prime because of the convenience of next-day delivery, and for me in the UK it's been great. However, I've struggled to find content on Prime video that I like and other stuff I have watched previously has disappeared. As Amazon is introducing adverts into the streams in the US with an option to pay to avoid them, it's only a matter of time before it arrives in the UK, and I refuse to pay a 33% uplift to avoid adverts, so I'll be cancelling my subscription shortly as I can live with waiting a couple of days for delivery. And as has also been pointed out in another comment, Amazon Prime is an all-or-nothing service, but as usual the corporate greed has made the cost completely unreasonable for me. These decisions are going to push people to using other methods of accessing that content for a lot less money.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

        As a cynic I suspect most people signed up for prime as it was made very easy to accept the free trial, and then yearly billing meant if they missed the single charge on their account.

        I know at least one person who told me that Amazon had 'forgotten' to cancel their free trial.

        I suggested they go look back through their bank account statements. ;)

    6. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      Prime in London usually works okay, often you can even get the same day delivery.

      So it might actually take a week for something to reach you from the other coast of the US. If it is in stock

      If that was the case, it would be quicker to order stuff directly from China. I typically get two-day delivery. If I order something on Monday, it's in my hands on Wednesday.

      Sometimes it is quicker to get stuff from China than from within the UK...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

        If you are getting "from China" that quickly, it's because the Chinese supplier has locally warehoused stock. There's no way they are flying that over at the P&P prices they charge :-)

        My personal experience with Amazon is that if it's in stock, it's rare for it take more than 2 days to arrive, often next day, without a Prime subscription. It probably helps that the nearest Amazon warehouse is only a couple of miles away and I can think of at least three others within a 40 mile radius, at least one of which is an enormous regional hub warehouse. We've had a same day delivery, again without Prime. On the other hand, we do try to minimise our Amazon purchases where possible, because, well, Amazon :-)

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

          DHL does deliver that fast from China. Though, you have to get enough things in the basket for it to make sense.

    7. sarusa Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      As a Prime Member, I will now have an extra incentive to just torrent anything I want to watch instead of watching it on Amazon. I already do that anyhow because it's a better customer experience.

      The smartest thing GabeN ever said was 'Piracy is an issue of service, not price.'

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

        I misread your first sentence as “As a Prime Minister…” and thought Oi, Rishi, haven’t you got more important things to be doing?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

          Ditto

          1. FIA Silver badge

            Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

            Yeah... me too...

            ...hang on though... lets not waste this opportunity...

            Sarusa, what are your ideas for running the country?

            (Can't be any worse).

            Also, you've now had 3 'accidental' votes, so it's more democratic than the current one....

    8. Kurgan

      you don't own anything

      You don't own anything. Only pirates own their contents.

      1. quxinot

        Re: you don't own anything

        This sounds like a great change to me.

        Means more content will be provided on TPB and the like so that I can just download it directly.

    9. big_D Silver badge

      Re: No comment on how this has been received by Prime members?

      I just got the email in Germany this morning, that in February, they are going to start showing adverts in films & TV shows, so they can continue to provide live sports coverage...

      I didn't know they did live sports coverage. I'm not interested in sports coverage. Why not charge people who watch sports for the live sports coverage?

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Streaming pile

    Amazon Prime joins the numerous dying services that charge money and mandate advertisement viewing before content. It's a bad experience. I tried a free trial of Peacock Premium and never got through the ads to see a single show. I cancelled within an hour of signing up.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    So, they broke the music offering, and now they're trying to break the video offering. At this point it's only useful for the nearly-free postage (France has mandated a postage fee necessary for books unless the order is over €35, but luckily this doesn't count for non books) and I'm starting to wonder if it's really worth it for the ever increasing cost of the Prime service.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Amazon still sell books? Amazing!

      Do they come and take them away again if your subscription stops? Or do they glue advertising fliers in the pages?

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        Don't give them ideas!

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        That's a real thing that used to happen in Germany.

        Even went as far as editing to insert product placement in some cases.

        1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          I'd already heard about this- specifically, advertising soup(!!) via sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks.

          However, while I was trying to find the article I'd already read on that to link to it here, I came across another point out that Terry Pratchett left his German publisher (the same people) for this exact reasons- they were shoving product placement scenes for Maggi soup into his novels without permission(!)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            I remember being very surprised to find full colour advert pages, 2 or 3 of them, double sided, in paperback SF books I picked up at the local second book shop 40 or 50 years ago and the books themselves were probably at least 10 years old when I bought them. This was in the UK, but on closer inspection, the books had been published in the USA and somehow wended their way over here. So yeah, the US advertising industry has already tried (and maybe still are?) pasting adverts into actual dead tree books.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Now you mention it, I recall a few of those inserts myself. They'd mostly have been in my father's books, which I was working my way through, so westerns, crime/thrillers, science fiction. I also recall a furore over product placement from some big luxury brand in a mainstream popular author's latest bodice-ripper.

              Nothing is safe... read your contract carefully!

              1. Jet Set Willy

                I remember them in some old Sci-Fi books of short stories (Asimov?) of my Dads. They go it wrong though - The Ads were on much thicker, higher quality paper in full colour so they were easily ignored.

  4. Brenda McViking

    For the first time in years

    I'm also questioning whether prime is worth the huge increases it has seen of late. I certainly used a lot of their second rate freebie services in the past but nothing I can't just ditch in a heartbeat. It's not the affordability though, it's the principle.

    Ads royally stink. Way to poison your own well Amazon. As for pay to remove? If someone starts taking a dump on my doorstep I don't pay them to take it away, they get the hell off my property or face the consequences.

    Equally if my pi-hole extricates all skunks at source without messing up the streaming, that's fine too.

  5. munnoch Bronze badge

    Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

    The problem with all these streaming services now is that they each have a handful of must watch shows and the rest is utter dross. You can power-box-set your way through the good stuff in a few weekends and then can the subscriptions for another 9 months until they refresh the offering. Like we've just done for Slow Horses on the 3 month ATV+ freebie that came with my new phone....

    Prime is a slightly more interesting proposition as it conflates a number of different services each of which you might need at different times so you may be more tempted to hang on to it. But when they put up the price in the UK last Jan I cancelled the renewal and I've honestly hardly noticed. I get most of my random cheap tat from eBay anyway so worst case I have to plan 2 or 3 days in advance to take account of the difference in delivery times. I still use Subscribe-And-Save but that is such a lottery. Half the stuff is unavailable half the time and the other half tends to bounce up in price versus the previous delivery. Typical AMZN tactics.

    Interestingly regarding adverts, we were watching Vera the other night on STV player (yes, I know, but the stories and main character are actually quite good) and I'm not kidding, we were shown the EDF EV charging ad between 4 and 6 times IN A ROW on EACH break!!! So for AMZN to show meaningful fewer ads than this won't be too terribly hard...

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

      "the EDF EV charging ad between 4 and 6 times IN A ROW on EACH break!!!"

      They must have very small batteries. What do they do, 5 miles before needing a recharge? ;-)

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

      Interestingly regarding adverts, we were watching Vera the other night on STV player (yes, I know, but the stories and main character are actually quite good) and I'm not kidding, we were shown the EDF EV charging ad between 4 and 6 times IN A ROW on EACH break!!! So for AMZN to show meaningful fewer ads than this won't be too terribly hard...

      I recorded it on my Sky Q box, watched it the next night and skipped over the advert breaks by pressing 'jump forward 30 seconds' four times.

      I remember when these streaming services first started and loads of people said they would kill off Sky and demonstrate that subscription models don't need to have advertising. At the time I said they wouldn't last - classic bait and switch. Fast forward (or even jump forward, lol) and Sky is still here, I'm still a subscriber to it but I haven't see an advert in many years and the streaming customers look to be getting them forced down their throats.

      Oh well.

      As for Vera the story was good but I felt the final confrontation was unrealistic.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

        I thought Sky, at least in the UK, was pushing Sky Glass and "dishless" Sky services hard this last year or so? It looks to me like they are thinking they can use the internet as a much cheaper delivery medium than buying/renting satellites and may eventually do away with the sats and transition into a "broadcast" streaming service.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

          Though they will lose some subscribers ... know a few people with Sky in areas with dismal internet connectivity where the new internet provided services will fail dismally due to dismal bandwidth on their connection... When their satellite box fails, then they will be giving up on Sky (they are all big sports fans, sport being main reason for many to have Sky in the UK)

          As for Prime, I get that "free" (we care for an ill relative of my partner who lives with us, she has prime as she orders lots of stuff from amazon, prime covers the household so we get use of it if needed). We are not big Amazon users, but as Prime is available, we have watched some stuff on Prime Video and (based on what I have read on the cost of some of these series) worth noting that.

          Citadel and Rings of Power were very expensive but not particularly good (partner a Tolkien fan so she watched RoP out of interest), Citadel was just dire, I bailed after a couple of dismal episodes. Those 2 shows were (IMHO) a huge waste of money that could instead have produced a lot of lower budget content that could hardly have been any worse (& maybe they could have experimented with non formulaic content ).

          Maybe I'm not their demographic, but very little on there that shouted out must watch to me ("The Boys", being one of a small number of exceptions that comes to mind)

          Thy have an irritating habit of removing things - a couple of shows where I tried a couple of episodes, thought they may be worthwhile as a "watch if there's nothing much else on" options (i.e. not great, but could pass the time on a stormy & rainy day when you don't fancy going outside) but found the series had been pulled.

          If I was having to pay for Prime myself it would be binned straight away. Definite lack of volume of content (a fair number of films, but most are very old so even a non cinephile like me has already seen the majority of them) & generally low quality of non film content

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

          They've been pushing it but I'm not sure how good the take up has been. I seem to recall that they once threatened to disable fast forward back in the day but realised that it would kill their business. They also refused to implement 'jump 30 seconds' for a while but relented when Sky Q was released.

          As regards satellite rental it's worth noting that Sky only operate those channels with Sky in their name. Most channels available on the Sky platform are independently operated and are only paying Sky to be listed on their EPG and (if they need it) a fee to be encrypted using Sky's system. Cost of satellite rental might also be falling if the owners perceive that everything is moving to a streaming service. Also worth noting that Sky boxes give access to various streaming services (Amazon, Netflix, Disney and several others) including various on demand channels. Sky's own on demand content currently supports skipping over adverts.

          It remains to be seen what Sky do next but I'd argue that they already have a large and fairly captive audience who are paying them well. As other streaming services deteriorate Sky may decide they can weather the storm and continue as they have done.

        3. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

          I thought Sky, at least in the UK, was pushing Sky Glass and "dishless" Sky services hard this last year or so?

          I looked into this last night and it turns out that they offer a £5pcm 'no adverts' add on. This doesn't work with live TV (hardly a surprise) and requires the viewer to skip over the adverts manually as they would with a DVR during playback.

          It seems to require that the streaming service be compatible with Sky's system but I doubt many will turn down the opportunity given Sky's market power.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

      "So for AMZN to show meaningful fewer ads than this won't be too terribly hard..."

      When Amazon say "meaningfully fewer ads", they are comparing with US broadcast TV, which is why cable and then streaming took off so well in the US. Too many ads. Waaaay too many ads. Ad break after the titles, ad breaks every 10-12 minutes and then another one just before the credits roll. A one hour show, when stripped of all the ads, is often only 40 mins, give a or take a few mins.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Cancelled Prime 12 months ago, hardly noticed, next Netflix, NOW...

      they each have a handful of must watch shows

      Subjective, of course, but I can't think of a single show I'd consider "must watch" on any of them.

      There are some I enjoy — including Vera, mentioned elsewhere in this thread — but honestly if I lost all access to all the streaming providers tomorrow (and I don't have OTA reception here), I don't think I'd particularly miss it.

      There was a time when I was eager to see certain programs, but it's been years now since I last mustered any great enthusiasm. Some of that may be due to changes in my preferences, but I think a lot of it is actually because of the changes from living at the mercy of broadcast times, to (fairly clumsy and limited) VCR time-shifting, to (far easier) DVR time-shifting, to on-demand streaming. It's not so much choice paralysis as choice exhaustion, I suppose; the lack of effort makes it all seem rather worthless.

      Yet I can still happily spend the day reading.

  6. Zebo-the-Fat

    Question

    If I watch prime video on my PC, will UblockOrigin be able to remove the ads?

    In my opinion, the only word for this is GREED, I already pay for the service and now they want to ruin it?

    I think they may be loosing a customer very soon.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Question

      If I watch prime video on my PC, will UblockOrigin be able to remove the ads?

      Not that I've found so far. They've figured out a different way to make ads unblockable, unskippable and the usual PITA. Curious it the price gouging will also include access to Amazon's 'FreeVee' channel. That's already a 'free' ad-supported service and it seems like over the last year, anything worth watching gets put in that channel first. But in the old days, bad content used to go straight to VHS, DVD and now Prime.

      But things I hate about Prime.. Like many other streaming services, it offers zero choice about 'channels' I want to watch, or don't want to watch. It does have hundreds of 'channels' to choose from and scroll though though before you get to maybe relevant ones like comedy, action, horror, documentaries. The typical Prime viewing experience is wading through that garbage to try and find something interesting. They control the vertical, and the horizontal. I have zero interest in football, cricket or tennis yet Amazon fills the screen with that junk and won't let me hide it. It also makes it hard to actually find out what a show is about, ie it used to have a brief synopsis, now it's a few clicks to find that.

      So like a lot of others have said, it's well past it's Prime and will probably be cancelled.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Question

        "It also makes it hard to actually find out what a show is about."

        Yeah, I've noticed that on Netflix recently where it'll say something like "Epic Explosions magazine says this film is Acceptably Crazy.".

        Yeah, okay, and what's it about...?

      2. Cruachan

        Re: Question

        "Curious it the price gouging will also include access to Amazon's 'FreeVee' channel"

        I suspect FreeVee is not going to be around much longer, it'll be rebranded as another tier of Prime. Either that or all the original series will be moved to Prime. Leverage: Redemption has been renewed for S3 for example, but is moving from FreeVee to Prime.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Question

        "The typical Prime viewing experience is wading through that garbage to try and find something interesting."

        Yes, a 1000 time yes. That's why we almost never watch Prime, and even then only when my wife has signed up for yet another free trial, always cancelled within minutes of signing up so we don't have to remember to cancel when the month trial runs out. It's ok if you know the name of what you want to watch and can use the search function, but it's utter shite for browsing because they are constantly trying to up-sell you at every stage. If a real salesperson tried that with me in a physical shop, I'd either have walked out long since or punched the bugger in the face!!

    2. DoContra

      Re: Question

      That's a tricky question! On the one hand, it shouldn't be able to as all streaming services deliver DRMed content through WideVine[1], and by the time you're doing that. On the other hand, Spotify does the same and Spotify ad-blockers are very much a thing (although not as a straight request block a-la UBlock Origin, they seem to work by injecting JavaScript that skips the function/callback that plays ads and tricking the webapp into thinking that everything is A-OK).

      [1]: DRM standard for the web; Firefox has the option to disable this content, as it works by running an obviously closed-source sort-of plugin. Youtube (non-paid content at least) doesn't bother with this, which is why it remains relatively easy to block ads/straight up download videos.

  7. aerogems Silver badge

    Makes me wonder

    I really have to consider whether Prime is even worth it for me anymore. I don't tend to buy that much, so spending a few dollars on shipping the few times I do buy things probably comes out cheaper. Either way, there's like three shows on Prime Video worth anything to me: Legend of Vox Machina, Invincible, and Upload in that order. Pretty much everything else is just garbage on that service. I gave up on that Lord of the Rings prequel maybe mid-way through because 1) it was a case study in the need for proper editing to keep the plot flowing, 2) in the middle of episodes, I'd find myself asking, "Why am I still watching this?"

    But on a larger note, this is the problem with the fractured market we have today. No single streaming service really has enough content to justify their existence and they certainly don't add enough new content to really keep people engaged long-term. Max is now just a bunch of reality shows from Discovery and TLC. Prime Video is basically your one stop shop for low budget UFO and conspiracy theory "documentaries". Paramount+ has Star Trek and.... yeah. Peacock is great if you want to relive the hours wasted in your youth in front of the TV watching some truly awful shows, and I think they have a deal with some pro wrestling outfit if watching a bunch of oiled up protein queefs run around in their underwear playing grabass is your thing. Netflix must be run by a bunch of former Fox execs the way they keep murdering their best shows in their crib. Disney+ is primarily aimed at young kids. I'm probably forgetting some, but the point stands. None of them have what it takes to make up one complete streaming service, but instead of pooling resources and everyone making a smaller portion of a larger overall pie, the C-Suite at these companies seem to be focused on the idea that they could have the the whole (much smaller) pie and deluding themselves into thinking that they will ultimately be one of the victors in the streaming wars.

  8. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    OnDemand

    Not very OnDemand if you have to suffer someone trying to sell you products

  9. Martin an gof Silver badge
    Trollface

    And people moan...

    ...about the BBC licence fee!

    (ignoring its near-compulsory nature)

    fx: dons flameproof gear

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: And people moan...

      ...about the BBC licence fee!

      (ignoring its near-compulsory nature)

      Well, Prime is very slightly easier to cancel than the Bbc.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: And people moan...

        It's trivial. Don't use broadcast TV or iPlayer.

        That's it. If you don't want to pay the licence fee, don't use the services it pays for.

        (Incidentally, the licence fee also pays for Channel 4, but you can get that free-with-ads via streaming.)

        Personally I find iPlayer worth the licence fee, but YMMV.

        Cancelling Prime is far more difficult, it's extremely well hidden.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Megaphone

          Re: And people moan...

          No, none of the licence fee money goes to Channel 4, it is entirely funded by advertising. Some goes to S4/C, the Welsh language equivalent of Channel 4

          1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

            Re: And people moan...

            Correct with regards to Channel 4's funding- and thanks for making that clear.

            However, the S4C bit is misleading. AFAIK, since the digital switchover, it's entirely devoted to Welsh-language content, no longer has any connection with Channel 4 and definitely *does* receive public funding.

            Yes, S4C's original analogue incarnation was what the Welsh got instead of Channel 4, being effectively a mash-up of the desired Welsh-language channel alongside selected English-language content from Channel 4 itself.

            But even then I strongly suspect that arrangement (i.e. less a natural fit than de facto channel-sharing) was only ever a compromise forced on them by the technical and financial impracticalities of having two separate analogue channels. (*)

            The fact that S4C ditched the English language (i.e. Channel 4-sourced) content and became Welsh-only as soon as digital technology made it possible to transmit Channel 4 separately would seem to back that up.

            (Anyone who's actually Welsh or knows more about this than I do, feel free to comment on or dispute any of this.)

            (*) Borne out by what happened when they *did* eventually launch a fifth and final analogue channel (Channel 5). They spent a huge amount of effort trying to fit *that* in to the existing network/spectrum- many people needed their video recorders retuned- and it still ended up with patchy coverage and the much-mocked poor reception quality for most people.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: And people moan...

              I call S4C the Welsh equivalent of Channel 4 because it expands to Sianel Pedwar Cymru, which translates to Channel 4 Wales. Yes it is a completely separate entity with its own content.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: And people moan...

                Don't forget that there was a huge political row about Channel 4 / S4C. The Conservatives had promised the creation of a Welsh language channel in their manifesto for the 1979 election but following their landslide win they went back on that promise in favour of a UK-wide fourth channel with a vague promise of possible opt-outs. Eventually Thatcher ordered a U-turn and S4C launched the day before Channel 4 in 1982. Up until then Welsh language television was limited to a few hours a week on the BBC channels and a slightly lesser amount on HTV, the then ITV incumbent.

                However, not only was there a large number of people in Wales who actually wanted to watch Channel 4 (which among a few jewels, in those days seemed to me to be largely composed of TV intended to shock for shock's sake, or cheap tat as a way to fill the vast number of hours in the schedule) but S4C was severely lacking in content despite the valiant efforts of dozens of tiny startup production companies and the transfer of the existing BBC and HTV content. In my opinion it actually worked quite well that S4C rebroadcast the "better" C4 content*, albeit mostly late at night. Then again by 1982 quite a lot of people had VCRs so time-shifting was quite common and certainly around the southern coast quite a lot of "high gain" TV aerials were installed pointing at Mendip rather than Wenvoe.

                Of course, once DTT came along and both channels were available across Wales, it really didn't make sense for S4C to continue broadcasting Channel 4 content. By then (2012 was thee official switchover) there was actually a thriving independent production industry in Wales and quite a lot of spin-off benefits from the decision of the BBC to move a large amount of drama production to Wales so content was less of an issue and while S4C is as guilty as any channel in these cash-strapped days of over-using repeats, clip shows and the like, it's also hosted some top-notch programming.

                I don't know how much licence fee money S4C gets "direct", as it were, but the BBC provides all the live news programmes for the channel as well as hosting S4C on the iPlayer, (available branded as Clic or simply as S4C on iPlayer) which I imagine is worth quite a lot of money.

                M.

                *well, some of it. I have clear memories of cobbling together an an ancient black-and-white TV set in my bedroom and tuning in to Eurotrash, which was probably as unintelligible (in culture terms) to my younger self as Welsh language programming would have been in language terms to my English-only contemporaries.

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: And people moan...

                  If you extend a line through Mendip and Wenvoe, it basically goes more or less through the Swansea area (well.. close enough for the signals to propagate together)

                  This made it easy, at the family home I grew up in, out in sunny Gower, to have perfect reception from both, so unlike many, we had the 4 Welsh, and the 4 'West' channels.

                  Also, using a different aerial, used to get TSW from Caradon Hill, and even managed to get TV South from Rowridge under certain skip conditions... Also managed one of the Irish channels on VHF sometimes too.

                  Yeah, I was a geek even then....

        2. Mark Ruit

          Re: And people moan...

          "It's trivial. Don't use broadcast TV or iPlayer."

          This.

          It is what we have done for some sixty years, fifty of them at the same address.

          The only drawback is the monthly threat-o-gram from TV Licencing (TVL) telling reminding me that I need a licence to ‘watch television’ (my approximation).

          I know that I cannot expect their algorithms to realise that I am both aware of the law and of the fact that I am not breaking it. But said algorithms either ignore the fact that I have been (apparently) "getting away with it" for fifty years: or they don’t “do” history.

          Completing their ‘No licence required’ declaration requires giving them personal information, which under GDPR they have to legal cause to hold, and in any case would only shut them up for one year – my privacy is worth more than that short relief. (The operators of TVL aren’t referred to around here as “Crapita” without cause...)

          For all those years our entertainment has come and does come from (legal) audio recordings, or from 'live' (generally streamed these days, so in reality slightly delayed) radio. If I want to watch a film, I go to the cinema.

          Alternatively, I read. Real print on paper.

        3. Patrician

          Re: And people moan...

          "(Incidentally, the licence fee also pays for Channel 4, but you can get that free-with-ads via streaming.)"

          it doesn't; Channel 4 is 100% financed by advertising.

    2. Philo T Farnsworth

      The Beeb

      As an American, I'd happily pay the license (er, sorry, licence) fee for something like the BBC.

      Heck, I've thought emigrating to Canada just to watch and listen to the CBC.

      I gave up listening and/or watching our sad excuse for broadcasting, both commercial and "public" (Please Give!), long ago.

      I've been recording programs (er, sorry, programmes) off BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 for years and playing them back in my car and on my computer and tablet for years and am a happier person for it. I rather enjoy being talked to as if I'm an adult with diverse interests and a reasonable bit of knowledge. That's hard -- no, impossible -- to find on American media.

      Did I say "Please Give?"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry. I pay to *not* have adverts.

    It's that simple.

    You can get away with that business model in print - it's trivial to skip over adverts so the pain of paying for them is minimal.

    But in video ... especially when you can't skip for x seconds ? Get fucked.

    On a separate note, I do like the docker version of deluge.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Sorry. I pay to *not* have adverts.

      That might be why you pay but apparently you're not paying enough. So many people thought Sky were ripping people off because they still carried adverts but it's the same story. If you want a truly advert free experience you're going to have to pay a lot of money for it.

      If you don't want to see adverts either pay more or subscribe to a service like Sky that fully supports skipping through adverts when playing back recordings and learn to record first, then watch later.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Sorry. I pay to *not* have adverts.

        "If you want a truly advert free experience you're going to have to pay a lot of money for it."

        .. torrents are still a thing.

        At one point it looked like torrents were withering on the vine, but in recent years it has had a big surge (probably not a coincidence that was the time of lots of different streaming services & content you may want to watch was fragmented across many providers instead of being from 1 or 2 providers only)

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Sorry. I pay to *not* have adverts.

          "If you want a truly advert free experience you're going to have to pay a lot of money for it."

          .. torrents are still a thing.

          Alright then.

          If you want a truly advert free experience and you would like to help fund the content you watch then you're going to have to pay a lot of money for it.

          Just because I don't want to sit through advertising breaks doesn't mean I'm a freeloader. I will happily pay the content creators and even the delivery service just not by watching adverts.

          1. Patrician

            Re: Sorry. I pay to *not* have adverts.

            Personally, I'll download the programmes/films on Prime that I want to watch, but will still keep my Prime subscription; that way I feel I'm not "freeloading" and can still enjoy content without being advertised at!

  11. Groo The Wanderer Silver badge

    The problem is that Prime is a bundle of services and features, so you really can't complain about being shown ads too much. You aren't specifically subscribed to a streaming service right now. But if you upgrade to the ad-free tier, then you've got Prime and a streaming service that is identified as such.

    It is becoming ever clear to me that the incessant greed of the media industry will never end. All that has happened is the collectors have shifted from the local broadcasters to the internet streaming services. They'll continue to waste billions on F/X spectacles with poor scripts and poor performances and wonder why people don't want to subscribe in droves. Meanwhile the consumer is finding that by the time they subscribe to all the services they used to get with their cable service, they're actually paying more than they were for the cable service.

    The only advantage you get with streaming is the budget-conscious consumer can choose _one_ favourite service for each category and just live without the content from the other services. To be honest, I've never really gotten my money's worth out of any video streaming service because I just don't make it a priority to spend time watching media. Listening to music while working or relaxing, yes, but staring at a screen? No thanks - I stare at a screen all day for work already.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      In the old days every movie was paused while the cinema workers changed the rolls of film and the cinema had sales people walking around everywhere selling drinks and sweets while most of the people in the cinema talked with each other, smoked cigarettes, or walked off to pee. Everyone was happy, we all talked with our friends, it was a much nicer and calmer social world originally because if a movie created any discussions then we would spend an evening discussing our opinions of everything in a pub afterwards.

      OK, it's clear that I too should probably say, "I am a daylight atheist" like Brendan Behan did.

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        Pint

        Did that in the not so old days in the middle of that film about the boat that sunk so the younger members of the audience didn't wet themselves as the film went on forever.

        The screening I watched, people actually cheered when it finally sunk, I'm not sure that was the intended reaction, but, damn, it took a minor eternity to get to that point and I think the fatigue was wearing in by that point.

        Icon, because you'd need one afterwards.

        1. Lurko

          The screening I watched, people actually cheered when it finally sunk, I'm not sure that was the intended reaction, but, damn, it took a minor eternity to get to that point and I think the fatigue was wearing in by that point.

          T'was as nothing compared to Life of Pi. Apparently only ran for 127 minutes in real time, but in perceived time in the cinema it went on and on and on for about five and a half excruciating hours. I wanted somebody to give me a spoon so that I could scoop my own brain out through my eye sockets and eat it, thus ending the torment.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            I'll see your Life of Pi and Raise you The Old Man and the Sea! :-)

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          As kids, our dad would take us to the cinema, and fall asleep almost 90% of the time.

          Other than nudging him if he started snoring, it worked ok, but yes, he slept through the first star wars film.

          To be fair, he did shift work, and lived in a house full of screaming kids.

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        These days it'd give people a chance to get up and use the facilities. There are whole websites devoted to telling you when you can get up during a movie without missing anything critical to the plot, which seems kind of telling. I have to take a medication that makes me need to urinate rather frequently, so going to the theater is pretty much out of the question for me anymore. I can't just hit pause like I can on a streaming site or with a bluray player.

        1. Alumoi Silver badge

          Plot? Do movies have plot in these days?

      3. Scene it all

        I used to work as a projectionist and we never stopped to change reels. There are two projectors and a control box that synchronizes the changeover from one to the other. And this was in a rather small theater. That little flash you see in the upper right corner is part of this system.

      4. myhandler

        You're thinking of intermissions. Film reels were about 40 minutes and change over is simply done by having two projectors and keeping an eye out for the dots in the top right corner. 8 in the gate and you're good to go.

        1. Rich 11

          My dad was a projectionist in the base theatre when he did his national service in the RAF. They used to put a coin in the film reels so that when they heard it fall to the floor they knew they had two minutes to check the second projector was ready to go. When you've already watched Quo Vadis five times that week and know the script by heart*, you can't guarantee not dozing off and letting the reel run out.

          *His party trick, even twenty years later.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      you really can't complain about being shown ads too much

      I can complain about anything I want to complain about.

      God, but I'm weary of people telling me I can't complain. Obviously they don't know me.

  12. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Prime

    There is hardly anything worth watching there.

    They usually serve dumbed down, generic movies tailored for the US audience (so it is sprinkled with all the nonsense culture war stuff).

    You'll find some old gems though.

    Only reason I use Prime is that the delivery is still quicker than competition and there are no fuss returns (at least for me, I guess it depends on how much you spend).

    When I order something from an independent online store and I don't like it, it usually takes some arguing with customer service and often they insist on paying for the return, whereas on Prime you automatically get a label and return is sorted.

    If competition had same day or next day delivery and hassle free returns, I couldn't care less about Amazon.

    Closest to that is probably Argos, but they have very poor inventory, so there is not much really to buy there.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Prime

      "There is hardly anything worth watching there."

      Here in France, it's mostly a selection of bad sci-fi movies and some random stuff from Denmark, Germany, and Russia (probably EU rules, it can't all be Syfy rejects). Amazon recently bought MGM, but the stuff turning up on Prime seems to be movies from the 70s and 80s.

      But, and here's the big BUT, because France is very much in favour of having stuff in French, a lot of these films don't have original audio but have swapped it out for a mediocre French dub (keeping the original English probably costs more). So it's not that often I bother to watch that sort of stuff on Prime. My preference is English (but I'll accept any other language with subs), but lousy dubs? Ugh, no thanks.

      And, while I'm whinging, their app is bloody awful and seems designed to make it as hard as possible to find stuff, not to mention their search is hilariously bad, I just searched for "Stardust" and the top two matches were "Stardust" (on a subscription channel) and "Satanic Panic" (on a subscription channel). Uh-huh. Or "Tinkerbell", which gave four Tinkerbell films (all subscription), followed by "Supernatural" and their "Hanna" series, then the movie "Room" (subscription). Way to traumatise children!

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Prime

        Make sure, if you haven’t, to watch “Smoking Causes Coughing”… hilarious and batshit insane in a way that only the French seem to be able to do. Highly recommended :)

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Prime

      "Argos, but they have very poor inventory"

      I gave up on Argos years ago, they only seem to sell bottom of the range cheap tat that fails a few months after purchase or doesn't even work when you get it home. Even something as basic as a self-assembly bookcase was useless - it couldn't take the weight of books, so the shelves sagged badly in the middle. Utter rubbish.

      I stopped shopping at Argos after three items bought from there in a row had to be returned... a mobile phone because the clasp was badly installed and so bent it couldn't accept a SIM card, a tall lamp had a piece missing and an electric razor that wouldn't charge up.

      1. Lurko

        Re: Prime

        Argos could have been a homegrown Amazon competitor - but then the morons running Sainsburys bought them out for £1.4bn and closed most of the Argos stores. Another textbook example of failed M&A.

        1. nijam Silver badge

          Re: Prime

          > ... the morons running Sainsburys bought them out for £1.4bn

          ... to save Argos from bankruptcy, as I recall. But still moronic, Argos still sells useless tat, and Sainsbury's are stuck with it now.

          1. Lurko

            Re: Prime

            "to save Argos from bankruptcy, as I recall"

            Not really. Parent company HRG were in a spot of trouble with a massive writedown on the disposal of Homebase* but Argos was profitable if unexceptional, and both HRG and Argos were eminently saveable. The clowns at Sainsbury's believed that they could lure Argos shoppers into Sainsbury's stores, where they'd think "I know I only came in for a new TV, but while I'm here I'll do the entire week's shopping as well". Add that flawed logic to the loss under Sainsbury's inept bean counters and bean sellers of in-store inventory (that previously meant you could go to Argos with a very high probability they'd have what you wanted in stock) and they killed any chance of Argos growing or making higher profits.

            * To Ozzie know-nothings, Wesfarmers, who took the underperforming Homebase and then flew that into the ground.

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Prime

        I've had a fair degree of success with Argos furniture - on the whole more than Ikea, although that's perhaps not saying much! Admittedly this was all pre takeover too.

        The ebay collection point service can also be really useful.

        In comparison to Ikea there's plenty of uncensored reviews on the website, so you have a heads up of the quality control. I've a trunk and a half width bookcase which are both of acceptable quality.

        I had mixed but satisfactory results with a deep solid wood book case used to house a load of game consoles. The reviews said it was ultimately OK but the quality control was suspect. There were full diagrams so I could see if was deep enough for my purposes. Of course one piece of wood was the wrong shape, but they were kind enough to open up another box and swap out the wood. One of the shelf supports is not great, but it works well enough

        That's not exactly a resounding success, but I couldn't find anything else that met my needs without considerable extra expense. I suspect the only other realistic option would be a custom bookcase from a pine furniture shop.

      3. Helen Waite

        Re: Prime

        Maybe they acquired Reginald Perrin's inventory?

  13. Barry Rueger

    YouTube

    A place that I now studiously avoid specifically because of the deluge of ads. I swear the entire corporate Internet is determined to destroy themselves.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: YouTube

      Thankfully my adblocker still blocks all ads on youtube. If the day comes when they block my blocker, they it's bye bye youtube. The content I listen to on there just isn't worth the bombardment of crap ads.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: YouTube

        If that happens, just delete all your cookies and other web data and refresh you blocklists, and you will be good to go again.

        If you are not good to go again, wait about 6 hours and update the blocklists again.

    2. heyrick Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: YouTube

      Adverts on YouTube?!

      I use NewPipe.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: YouTube

      YouTube are one of the many American companies that make the mistake that the rest of the world will accept adverts on the same level as American audiences accept.

  14. Andy Non Silver badge
    Devil

    Amazon killing the golden goose.

    Amazon is gouging its customers so hard one way or another they are likely driving customers away, me included. I'm absolutely sick to death of Amazon trying to shove Prime down my throat every time I try to purchase something from their store. I have absolutely no intention of signing up to Prime and news like this just reinforces that resolve.

    I just tried to order some stuff online, my order qualifying for free delivery. At checkout I get a full screen ad for Prime with a tiny link to continue without Prime. Next screen tries to gouge me for £5 fast delivery charge despite qualifying for free delivery. I select Free delivery then my checkout is blocked because they are shoving a Prime subscription in my face again for one of the items in my basket which I've got to decline yet again. Well Amazon, feck that. I've deleted all of the items from my basket and will buy them from the high street. I've had enough of your annoying BS tactics. You keep gouging and you'll pay the price. Feck you.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Amazon killing the golden goose.

      I'll just add that I've stopped buying electronic/electrical items from Amazon anyway due to their crap returns policy. If you buy something from their marketplace and it fails after 30 days then you are reliant on the goodwill of the 3rd party supplier. If they ignore you or refuse to accept the UK's 12 months warranty laws then you are stuffed. Amazon just ignores pleas to resolve the problem. For that reason I've started buying such items from the high street and Amazon have lost out on several £k of sales to me. At least I can take them back to a physical store within 12 months and they can't just ignore me.

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: Amazon killing the golden goose.

        > If you buy something from their marketplace and it fails after 30 days then you are reliant on the goodwill of the 3rd party supplier.

        Why is that a surprise, or any different to buying anything else online? You're buying from the third party, not Amazon, and the Amazon product page makes that clear.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Amazon killing the golden goose.

          "Why is that a surprise"

          What follows relates to British ways, and to some degree EU as well (similar laws in this respect). Other countries may differ in how much protection consumer laws offer. (Re. The Consumer Rights Act 2015)

          "and the Amazon product page makes that clear"

          Not clear at all. A lot of third party stuff is "fulfilled by Amazon", comes in an Amazon box, and here's the clincher - Amazon takes your payment. Surely this makes them "the retailer"? Unfortunately it looks like the law has a very loose definition of what they mean by the word "retailer" that allows these sorts of loopholes to happen.

          I can understand if they're just acting as an intermediary for somebody who is sending an item themselves, but anything that comes with Prime delivery is coming from an Amazon fulfillment centre.

          "You're buying from the third party, not Amazon"

          This is like saying if you buy a toaster from Tesco and it stops working, to contact the toaster manufacturer and not the place where you bought it. It's not up to you to go on a goose chase. (in this respect, the law is painfully clear, it's Tesco's problem to sort out; however internet marketplaces are somehow special and Amazon offering to stock and ship stuff on behalf of third parties really muddies the water...they stock it and ship it, if that's not being a retailer then what the hell is?)

          At any rate, if I was buying anything of value more than about €20, it would have to be a "fulfilled by Amazon" item. I have had to return things in the past for various degrees of brokenness, and in this case Amazon offers a prepaid postage label, and a full refund when the item is returned. If I was buying something over, say, €200... yeah, no. Sorry, just no. I got my new washing machine from the local supermarket. They even had one of their employees deliver and install it for a few euros extra, and before installation I was invited to check it all over, make sure there was no visible damage. I can't imagine Amazon being that thorough, I've seen some abysmal efforts at parcel packing from them, including at one point a product that wasn't flat that got squashed in order to stuff it into one of those rigid envelopes instead of a box. I complained (because that was just a dumb thing to do) but kept the product (yay for gaffer tape) so they refunded half the price.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Amazon killing the golden goose.

          It's because of ignorant people like you that Amazon etc. deliberately try to flout the law.

          You are paying Amazon. Your contract is with them. If they decide to sell via a third party, that's up to them, but there's a reason why they take a cut of the revenue, and it's not just to support the website.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazon killing the golden goose.

        Just order a new one and then send the old one back as a return... make it their problem with zero hassle for you.

  15. Jeff Smith

    Meanwhile…

    Search results on Amazon are increasingly full of sponsored entries, more often than not making said results far less useful.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, but a company having such a dominant market position that they have no qualms about making the customer experience notably worse in pursuit of maximising profit is exactly why monopolies are (were?) considered a Bad Thing.

    Expect the service to get increasingly worse over the years, the work of maximising profit is never done. Betchya the generous returns policy will start to be eroded at some point soon, the PR team will market it as concern for the environment or some such.

    Meanwhile many people can no longer afford NOT to use Amazon, or at least are faced with a choice of buying less stuff for more (which might not be such a bad thing, but isn’t something most will do willingly).

    Didn’t monopolies used to get broken up? Or is that just something we tell ourselves?

  16. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Cancelled Prime here

    Pity it was literally three days after it renewed I heard about the ads :(.

    Amazon need to watch out. In 2015 through 2022 I had between 60-80 Amazon orders per year (this includes e-books). Prime was clearly worth it.

    2023? 31 orders. It does not help that reviews are less useful, the search no longer works properly (as in: showing what I want, not what makes Amazon most money), there's ever more useless offerings from China, and the wishlist now only accepts Amazon products rather than external links.

    There are some decent series on Prime amongst the dross[1], and they occasionally put on some odd but interesting offerings from around the world. However, I am simply not paying for a service where they show ads.

    Britbox is going when it's up for renewal now Doctor Who is all on the BBC.

    Paramount+ is very probably going on next renewal. It was worth it for 35 quid a year on a half price special, it's not worth more than that for basically just Star Trek and a bit of Macgyver.

    I'll simply buy on DVD and Bluray. It was a not quite final straw when I found two series I wanted to watch had been on Britbox, but were no longer. Bought them instead on DVD for three quid each. If a streaming service isn't going to offer what I'd reasonably expect, why should I bother?

    Disney is so far the service I'd say is actually worth it - for the moment.

    [1] Wheel of Time was good (but I've not read the books, so I can't pick holes in it in the same way I can for the pretty but shallow Rings of Power), Legend of Vox Machina is excellent. Invincible is OK. Truth Seekers is amusing enough but hardly essential (and then it was cancelled after the first series).

    There's other decent stuff on there but it turns out they're not really Amazon. Good Omens (co-production with BBC), The Expanse (created for Syfy), Lower Decks (Paramount)

    Then there's Stargirl, a poster child for modern media failure. Not a Prime original, but available on Prime. Season 1 is really good, a decent offering from DC. Season 2 not as stunning, but worthwhile.

    Season 3 is US only. Zero UK streaming options. Physical media release available only in DVD Region 1. No Bluray planned.

    I'd like to watch this for a reasonable price. Given no options exist, other than possibly using a VPN to set my IP to Canada and trying Prime there apparently, guess what I'm going to do, yaa har me hearties?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Cancelled Prime here

      "Not a Prime original, but available on Prime."

      Just looked up Stargirl here (France). Need to subscribe to Warner. A fiver a month for three months, then a tenner a month afterwards. In addition to Prime. Hello, that's what Netflix costs!?!

      Oh, and there's only the one season.

      <shrug>

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Cancelled Prime here

        Yeah, it looks like it various across countries :(. Season 1 and 2 are both available on Bluray, it's a reasonable show.

        For decent superhero action Disney+ is likely to be the best option - the output is variable (most Marvel post Infinity War offerings are awful with the exception of Shang Chi and The Marvels), but there are gems. Ms Marvel is outstanding. Moon Knight is odd (stick with it, it isn't supposed to make sense), Loki is decent, as is Hawkeye. Then there's the Star Wars offshoots which again are variable, but Andor and The Mandalorian stand out.

        There's also 'Extraordinary', the UK '(almost) everyone has developed a superpower' comedy, which is quite funny at times.

    2. Michael Strorm Silver badge
    3. quxinot

      Re: Cancelled Prime here

      Speaking of amazon's horrible search function:

      It's been horrible garbage for some time. Shows four items and then pages of things they want to show rather than what you searched for. And the four items weren't that close in the first place.

      I'm surprised no one has quietly built a site that searches amazon effectively and provides affiliate links to the items? You'd think it'd be a tremendous moneymaker with comparably little effort? I mean, all you need to do is provide links and a better quality search experience, which can't be all that difficult.

      I'd use it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cancelled Prime here

        As I already commented elsewhere, and you yourself imply ("pages of things they want to show rather than what you searched for"), Amazon's search is clearly that way by design- i.e. they clearly don't want it fixed when they were the ones who intentionally broke it.

        So even if it were possible to build a site like you ask for, Amazon would have the motivation- and, more importantly, the means (e.g. blocking their access to the API and/or intentionally breaking anything they unofficially rely upon)- to make such a site effectively unworkable.

        Besides which, wouldn't this simply be fixing the symptom rather than the cause and exacerbating the problem by encouraging people to continue shopping with Amazon?

  17. Cruachan

    Amazon price gouging is everywhere. I used to have a 2 month sub for coffee beans and a few other things like toothpaste and mouthwash, because there was a discount for having more items on sub and the prices were good. Now though the same coffee beans can be bought in Tesco in the same size bag for several pounds less.

    Also found that lots of other things are creeping up, DIY supplies or cycling bits and pieces are cheaper from eBay or other online places so other than some Christmas pressies for nieces and nephews (bought off their wish lists) I've used Amazon very little. Only watch The Boys and it's spinoffs on Prime Video as well.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    So yet another platform where even though you pay for the service you will have a better experience pirating the content than watching on the Prime app come the end of January.

    Ive paid up my Prime sub until July so if this comes in in the UK before then, I will just download all the shows I want to watch on Prime from TPB and won't be renewing again.

    As for the quality of the ads they will have on the Prime app, if its anything like those on Freevee it will be mostly ads for other Amazon service or products, and hardly ever see big brand advertising on Freevee.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up to now I've had no real interest in Amazon Prime / TV. Now I DEFINITELY have zero interest in Amazon Prime / TV.

  20. Marty McFly Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wash - Rinse - Repeat

    Go watch some of your favorite re-runs from the 70's & 80's, and time how long the episodes are. Notice how the episodes produced in the 90's and 00's are 3-4 minutes shorter because more advertisements are injected during the hour.

    Consumers got sick of too many ads. New upstart streaming services offer no-ads and a new business magically appears.

    And repeat....Streaming services previously ad-free are now forcing advertisements.

  21. nijam Silver badge

    Based on every other commercial broadcast or steaming service, there are a number of safe predictions:

    * The adverts will be shit and will annoy viewers.

    * The products advertised will be shit and will go on my blacklist of suppliers to avoid.

    * I'm likely to turn off and do something else.

  22. Sub 20 Pilot

    Same old shit, different year (almost.)

    Just read through the whole thread and am not surprised at the general consensus. I don't do films or tv and have never used Amazon for anything, ever. If I can only buy something on there I do not need it.

    I pay Google a lot of money for a number of work related services and as a consequence, linked my account to youtube for a few things I had an interest in. Now they are forcing their shit adverts for stuff I would never pay for throughout youtube then it can go and fuck itself. Adblockers currently can't stop this so I have signed out and can live without the stuff I was watching ocasionally.

    There are alternatives to the google services that will work for me and I will be changing over in 2024. It will cost them a few hundred pounds a year, not going to bankrupt them, but as far as I am concerned, there is a cut-off point for parasitic greed and they have over stepped it.

    I suspect that people will start to go back to full on piracy en-masse. The various online, download and streaming services were a way of getting what you wanted at a reasonable cost so most people were happy to give these companies their money and stay legal when they provided a service. Of course the parasitic corporations can't accept this so they are all getting even more greedy and determined to fuck over their customers in any way they can so it is time that people dumped the bastards.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Same old shit, different year (almost.)

      "people will start to go back to full on piracy en-masse"

      Wouldn't be a surprise. Something I've noticed about the streaming services is that their stuff rarely has any sort of alternative media release such as DVD. Which means the only legal avenue is the increasingly shitty service that you might have just quit in disgust...

      (they're probably frightened that if they make DVD releases, people will just buy the DVDs of the stuff they're interested in; it would probably cost less than the €120/year that the subscription would on the lowest non-advert-infested tier)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the straw that will make me quit

    ..probably both as an Amazon (AWS) employee and stop buying stuff from em. I probably spank about £15k a year through Amazon, but a few recent returns have been problematic. “Customer obsession”.. not anymore.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ooer missus, fnar fnar, etc

      > I probably spank about £15k a year through Amazon

      If it's costing *that* much, you might want to seek professional help for your spanking addiction!

      (Or whatever they have that you're spanking it to, though I wasn't aware Prime Video included *that* sort of thing...)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Ooer missus, fnar fnar, etc

        Yeah, I think he was looking for the word "spunk", but that usage seems to have declined over the last decade or so in favour of the more NSFW meaning and may offend some snowflakes :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ooer missus, fnar fnar, etc

          Don't know about where you are, but I'm Scottish, and "spunk" has had the "NSFW" meaning here- i.e. as a synonym for semen- since (at least) I was growing up during the 1980s.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Ooer missus, fnar fnar, etc

            Same here, since at least the 70's, but it's an alternate meaning, not a changed meaning, but which is related. Spunking money is wasting money, or spending a lot of money, from "spunking against the wall", ie wasting the semen :-)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This is the straw that will make me quit

      You must be pretty high in the pecking order to spend that much via Amazon. I hope that includes staff discounts!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the straw that has broken my back

    I probably spank about £15k a year on Amazon, but due to a few recent return niggles and receiving a high value item that was clearly a return I’m gonna give up on Amazon now. Time to go cold turkey. This is especially embarrassing as I’m an AWS employee, and it feels like we’re no longer obsessing over our customers…

  25. Tubz Silver badge

    Renewed September, now have cancelled Prime, I'm not paying extra for no-adverts, as not in my initial contract when I signed up. All the streaming services are getting greedy, at some point, there will be mergers or going out of business, as the offerings are not showing value for money.

  26. computing

    Jassy wait and find out

    Exceptions exist of course. But the majority of Prime video is bottom of the barrel: either film-making-school level amateur productions, or old movies that were mediocre when made and are even worse now. Stuff that just eats up personal time with not much of a reward.

    This will be a welcome spur for a lot of people to inspect their Amazon procurement spend. A lot of people can better organise their purchases and find alternate channels for some of this stuff (eg music). Many will cancel Prime and save some bucks, and a lot more worth of personal time, per year.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paying to watch TV

    Amazing.

    As a never-subscriber to any pay TV, I just don’t understand the attraction.

    Free to air TV is bad enough and I rarely watch it.

    But, paying to watch TV is a new level of incomprehension.

  28. ComicalEngineer

    I've only managed to watch three AMZN prime shows through:

    Picard -- Utter drivel and TBH Iwas reading a book at the time

    Bosch -- Excellent

    Reacher -- Much better than the Tom Cruise films

    However, the number of films where I've watched 15-20 minutes and then binned it is legion.

    I've also been caught out by the "free with ads" 15 minutes into a film and WTF was that?? Then another 15 minutes for the oldies among us there's a Max Headroom episode called "Blipverts" in which micro adverts cause people's heads to explode. The AMZN ads nearly caused mine to have an unscheduled rapid disassembly.

    I will retain Prime only for the delivery, mainly because my adult children can also use the same account to buy stuff. I'll just stop watching the videos and do something more productive instead.

  29. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Not happening here

    I was never even momentarily tempted by prime - anything.That's on the rare occasions I actually use amazon and the like. Added to this have a number of credit cards with different banks and staggered expiry dates. For any site that's the remotest bit questionable (like amazon) I always use the card with the shortest expiry to limit my risk.

  30. Grogan Silver badge

    I resisted Prime (I would just buy items with free shipping and "ships from Amazon") but one day I gave in. For most goods, it's the same courier shipping, but sometimes they'll stick something like shoes in parcel post. For me that means going to a remote mail box, getting a parcel tag, and going downtown to wait in line in a cramped post office to get my parcel. I don't get anything shipped parcel post and I'm angry if they do. That's not going to happen with Prime (and if it does I'll refuse it).

    I have never used Prime Video and I don't care to (it had nothing to do with enticing me to sign up), but I would never tolerate ads in anything I'm paying for (Hell, I don't tolerate them in things I don't pay for). Rest assured the torrents made from their streams won't have them :-)

    No, I don't come out ahead by keeping my Prime subscription. I don't order enough stuff for that to pay off and I don't use their services. However, when I do, I will get good shipping. I'll have more cause to complain and cancel orders too, if I get jerked around.

    1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      I wanted to watch their rings of power... I pay for prime.

      I couldn't because I use a VPN... so I downloaded it instead.

      There are a few shows/movies that are exclusive to prime that I enjoy... and I've never actually watched them on prime. I've watched them dozens of times.

      So why was I paying for the service... because I actually want to pay for content that I enjoy.

      But these fuckers are literally forcing me to go back to old habits... and I'm more than happy to do so.

  31. frankyunderwood123

    Will users go back to torrents?

    Not that long ago, before streaming had taken off, I'd argue an exceptionally large percentage of people watched pirated video content.

    They may not have downloaded it themselves, but got content from friends or more often than not, work.

    I'm sure many of us will remember a sneaky network share or two. Bring along your USB stick, grab a movie.

    It was so incredibly normalised - just like in previous decades, mp3s, ripping CD's and DVD's, tape-to-tape VHS, recording vinyl onto tape.

    All of these things were done by otherwise completely law abiding citizens.

    Piracy got easier and easier, but at the same time, streaming services started to be even easier - I think it was £6 a month when Netflix first came out.

    We really believed the hype and the promise that you would soon be able to access any video content, going back decades.

    That turned out to be bullshit, but we all rushed into it anyway - mostly because of original content, some of it exceptionally good.

    Roll on a decade and we've got streaming services up the wazoo - all competing, all trying to grab eyeballs - and slowly but surely ramping up the monthly fees.

    In the meantime torrent sites were hit hard and some of the biggest shut up shop.

    I'd argue that the streaming services are on the cusp of reversing the move away from pirated content.

    If they keep going on like this, especially in a cost-of-living crisis, pirated video content will once again become dominant and normalised.

    No, it never really went away, but it certainly got way less prevalent.

    We never did get what we hoped for - a streaming service that had everything you could ever want.

    Heck, I'd pay £30 a month for that, so long as there were no ads.

  32. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Ditch Amazon

    It's time to ditch amazon entirely... not just because of this. But because the service they offer in general is just a really bad value for money experience.

    Quality of products has gone through the floor as decent brands abandon the marketplace, leaving the site flooded with cheap chinese knock-off garbage that can not only be a waste of money... but also potentially dangerous. See the recent Louis Rossman vids for examples of dangerous quality products.

    Then there's reviews... they can't be trusted because you can list an item that's good... earn thousands of reviews and then swap out the item for something else and you keep the reviews for entirely different products. People see the reviews and think it's positive, they don;t actually read the reviews to see if the review is talking about the same product now being sold.

    My yearly sub is due this month and I'm cancelling it. I don;t watch prime video anymore because the gui is so bad it's hard to find anything, they removed your ability to see just what's free to prime users... so they can try and steer you towards more purchases... renting anything costs more than actually buying a physical copy on bluray and as with all 'digital' purchases, anything you buy can be taken from you at a later date.

    The only way to win, is not to play.

    So I've switched more and more to local businesses, gone direct to brands sites to buy direct or from their approved resellers. I've cut what I spent on amazon by more than 50% this year.... in fact, just 1 of the xmas presents I bought was from amazon... and that was a gift card for my brother in law who wanted something specific he can't get locally.

    I'm so done with the enshitification of everything.

  33. ecofeco Silver badge

    SUCKERS!

    I find it amazing that even in this modern hyper-digital age, people still fall for bait and switch.

    Rule one: any subscription service will eventually change the terms for the benefit of the company and never for the customer.

  34. BartyFartsLast

    One more to shitcan then

    I've canned Netflix and Disney for that sort of bullshit and I've just run up Excel to work out how much I pay Amazon, they're next.

    .

  35. illuminatus

    So ... I have two options

    Option 1: Retain the Prime subscription, but just delete the Prime Video app from my devices. I don't use the Prime bits of other services like Kindle, Audible, or Music so I'm not losing anything in particular by junking that. I keep the delivery bits.

    Option 2: Ditch Prime entirely. Makes sense because I don't watch much on Prime anyway. I'm finding I'm generally using Amazon less anyway: I just don't need to buy very much stuff I don't really need in the normal course of things - so the amount I'm paying doesn't offset what I'd be paying in delivery charges.

    Either way, Amazon trying to make me pay extra for a service I'd already paid for isn't making me want to use it any more. Quite the opposite. Mind you, the options suggested by others just to throw their own little spanners in the works make me swell with pride at the lovely contrariness of people here. Least I've got a week or two to decide which to do for my part.

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