back to article Dumping us into ad tier of Prime Video when we paid for ad-free is 'unfair' – lawsuit

When Netflix launched its ad-supported tier in November 2022, it tried to tempt viewers in with discounted rates, hoping to win new consumers and sell their eyeballs to ad-slingers. But Amazon Prime, well, it went a different route. Amazon simply shot over an email in December 2023, giving subscribers a heads-up that it would …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Idiots

    What they should have done is announce a price increase and a new ad-supported service, forcing people to choose. They'll get this in the end but it will cost them to settle in or out of court.

    1. NoCoffee

      Re: Idiots

      to quote Cory Doctorow "The 'Enshittification' of the service as a rule!

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Idiots

        to quote Cory Doctorow "The 'Enshittification' of the service as a rule!

        I suggest from now on we simply speak of Doctorovian Enshittification as a standard recognised phenomenon.

        1. rcxb Silver badge

          Re: Idiots

          from now on we simply speak of Doctorovian Enshittification

          Is there another form of Enshittification you're trying to differentiate it from?

          1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

            Re: Idiots

            Is there another form of Enshittification you're trying to differentiate it from?

            Cory Doctorow talks specifically about enshittification of companies' offerings to customers. There's also the enshittification of governments and public discourse and food (hybrid rice/meat with added fish gelatin anybody?) and …

            I wonder which university will be the first to open a Department of Enshittification Studies?

      2. chuckamok

        Re: Idiots

        We've passed another milestone in the early enshittocene

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Idiots

      What they should have done is announce a price increase and a new ad-supported service, forcing people to choose.

      They already did this. Amazon introduced 'FreeV' or something similar, then started moving content from the base Prime Video to that ad-supported channel. And the ads were unskippable, irrelevant and generally annoying. I didn't bother to check if the price gouging also made that channel ad-free, I just cancelled Prime instead. The price hike was just the last straw in a service that rarely had anything watchable on it, and the most godawful UI design I've ever seen.

      Some day, some streaming service will let subscribers have some choice over the categories viewers want to watch, or never want to watch. I suspect the constant deluge of 'channels', often overlapping is a way to try and make it appear that the services have more content than they actually do.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Content and choices

        Non-subscribers must be shown an impressive range of content so they sign up and pay money.

        Subscribers must be given a lousy choice so they do not watch anything. Streaming content to subscribers is an expense.

        (Large DVD collection in the attic format shifted to a NAS for viewing. If you do not have a collection your local second hand shop will get you started for a pittance.)

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Large DVD collection in the attic format shifted to a NAS for viewing.

          And if you have the original DVD then you're not dissapointed like when you go to stream something you love (eg. the scene in Men Behaving Badly where Tony comes back from the pub and is shouting "Debra, I fucking love you!" in the garden) only to find some killjoy has beeped the swearing and ruined the joke.

          1. dermots

            Re: Large DVD collection in the attic format shifted to a NAS for viewing.

            Or songs essential to the narrative and complete missing episodes!

          2. Duffy Moon

            Re: Large DVD collection in the attic format shifted to a NAS for viewing.

            They didn't, did they?! That's the best episode as well!

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Idiots

        Still sounds like a material change in the Ts&Cs. I think they'll want to settle this quickly to kill of the discussion and run of cancellations.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Idiots

          Yes, just because something is in the Ts&Cs doesn't mean it's fair or legal. This is very much worth challenging.

          On the other hand, this is the USA and the courts will often side with the contract, even if it is weighted in favour in one party and therefore inherently unfair. I'd like to think this will go to trial, but experience tells me that it will be settled out of court because no $BigCorp wants' it Ts&Cs tested in court in case they lose.

        2. HereIAmJH

          Re: Idiots

          The problem is; Prime Memberships are paid up front and there is no way they are going to give you your money back. Not even a pro-rated amount.

          My small protest is to make sure I use the Twitch Prime subscription every month. Even if I don't necessarily watch a streamer regularly, I'll use that sub and it's a few pennies out of Amazon's pocket.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Idiots

            The problem is; Prime Memberships are paid up front and there is no way they are going to give you your money back. Not even a pro-rated amount.

            Actually.. They did for me, which was a bit of a suprise. The off-boarding process was typically cumbersome, yet reminded me why I was doing this. It told me about all the services I'd lose, but didn't use. Then apparently because I hadn't used or found anything to watch this month, it refunded me £8.99

            My small protest is to make sure I use the Twitch Prime subscription every month.

            Oh, I'd pretty much forgotten about Twitch, but that was another service with a godawful UI.

          2. BartyFartsLast

            Re: Idiots

            As much as the continued enshittification is making me cancel every streaming service subscription that tries this shit, I feel compelled to defend Amazon here, I've never had a problem getting money back from them, example, I cancelled Audible because I found little to interest me or the narration and production of the stuff that did interest me grated so badly and they refunded every unused credit, even the ones that had expired instead of rolling over.

            I didn't try to get a refund on Prime when I cancelled that because I'd used it and 'broken even' on the last couple of months with delivery and a few shows/films.

            I'm now free of all streaming services, £40-£50 a month better off and using a small portion of that cash to build myself a format shifted collection of films from the local charity, 2nd hand shops, freecycle and occasionally CEX, Music Magpie etc.

          3. Gordon861

            Re: Idiots

            "The problem is; Prime Memberships are paid up front and there is no way they are going to give you your money back. Not even a pro-rated amount."

            I don't see how they can not return the money or keep you on an ad-free contract, at least in UK/EU, the US is a law unto itself.

            I would be looking at the facility you used to pay for the subscription and get them involved. Initiate a chargeback, you have nothing to lose.

            I did this with one of the Nerd-Box suppliers from the US when they kept delaying and never sending the monthly boxes. Just passed all the info over to Amex and they refunded the whole subscription, even for the ones I had received.

            Would also be raising a complaint with your local Trading Standards and anyone else that might be relevant.

          4. dmcc0

            Re: Idiots

            I actually just cancelled my Prime sub earlier today. I was given the option to carry on until my sub expires (July) or take a pro-rata refund in cancel immediately.

      3. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Idiots

        Freevee used to be IMDBtv, and it was separate from Prime and anything else. Sadly, yes, there seems to be this irritating mish-mash of services that makes it look like there's more than there is.

        I'm supportive of the lawsuit, mostly because I use Prime mostly for shopping, but if you're bunging me into an ad-'supported' tier, please bugger off until my Prime membership is due for renewal. *Then* you can ask me if I want to have ad-free movies and TV.

      4. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Idiots

        Thank you for saying this

        "The price hike was just the last straw in a service that rarely had anything watchable on it"

        I said the same thing way over a year ago and got downvoted. Prime Video, like Netflix, went to pot, pushing their own productions rather than the movies that I signed up for many years ago. No thanks, don't want any.

        Cancelling Netflix was so cathartic.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Idiots

          In Netflix's case, that was absolutely the plan from the start and they weren't quiet about it. Right from the beginning, when they were still a DVD rental service, they said they were planning to have a) online streaming, and b) their own studio.

          I also think they'd have been happy to keep streaming other people's stuff as well, if they could, but studios decided they'd rather try launching their own streaming service so they could control the whole stack.

          I say this not to defend Netflix -- I wouldn't still be a subscriber if I didn't get it for free with my cell phone service -- but because I think it's interesting that they outlined their plans right from the start.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Idiots

            In Netflix's case, that was absolutely the plan from the start and they weren't quiet about it. Right from the beginning, when they were still a DVD rental service, they said they were planning to have a) online streaming, and b) their own studio.

            I don't think I mind Netflix quite so much. Some Netflix originals have been pretty good, and I think it's their Korean productions that are saving the sub. For some reason, Korean TV seems to be able to combine comedy, drama, action and strong females without going Amazon's Mary Sue route. Then again, some of Netflix's productions went full Hollywoke, eg the first series of Altered Carbon was good, the second abysmal. But nothing as bad as the butchery Amazon did with WoT or RoP.

          2. BartyFartsLast

            Re: *greedy* Idiots

            I didn't find the home produced Netflix stuff to be bad at all, quite enjoyed some of it.

            What made me cancel was the price hike, forced ads and the restriction of the 'share your password' thing they'd pushed so hard in the past which had previously made it palatable because my kids and my partner were getting good use from it as well.

            When I sat back and worked it out, I was paying for at least 5 different streaming services (sometimes more when there was a new release) and finding very little that I actually *wanted* to watch, instead I was watching stuff to justify the money I'd paid to them.

            I'm now streaming service free, have more spare cash and even have time to do stuff!

      5. Chet Mannly

        Re: Idiots

        "the most godawful UI design I've ever seen"

        Their UI is utterly horrific. At times I have subscribed to prime to see a series, and cannot find the series despite knowing the name, all the actors etc. Literally google is the only way to find series on the POS interface...

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Idiots

          Their UI is utterly horrific. At times I have subscribed to prime to see a series, and cannot find the series despite knowing the name, all the actors etc. Literally google is the only way to find series on the POS interface...

          Or the multiple UIs. Like search and it'll find stuff with the regular store UI, but never the Prime UI. Or lack of integration with IMDB. So sometimes I want to find stuff with the same actor, director etc which I could do with IMDB, but no links back to stuff available in Prime.

          Most annoying thing for me was the extra height promotions duing football/tennis/cricket seasons. I have less than zero interest in watching any of that, so why not let me hide those 'channels'?

    3. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Idiots

      They should have, but they didn't. The bottom line here is the T&C says they can change the service anyway, anyhow, and whenever they want. Subscribers agree to that when they sign up!

      There is no legal standing for a suit here. You cannot sue for corporate stupidity!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Idiots

        There is no legal standing for a suit here. You cannot sue for corporate stupidity!

        I don't know anything about US consumer protection laws. They probably vary state-by-state anyway. However in the US a contract still has to be reasonable.

        In the UK we have further legislation that requires consumer contracts to be fair. You can't hide something material to the contract in sub paragraph 75a.2.c on page 312. Or at least you can, but if it makes a material change to the contract the consumer is assumed not to have been made aware of it, and so it's considered unfair and struck down. There's still quite a lot of "reasonable" involved. So our courts have sadly ruled in that in some multi-year fixed-price contracts, the company are allowed to increase your annual fee by inflation once a year. Interestingly the two times I got to signing a one year TV contract with Sky (didn't sign the second one) their month for increasing the price due to inflation happened to be the 2nd month of the contract. Both times. Even though there was a gap between them - so clearly they were exploiting that loophole to advertise for a few quid less than you'd actually end up paying.

        So in the above case it'll be interesting. I'd argue that it's not reasonable to change the advertising free thing without giving people on annual contracts a chance to back out - or bumping them up to the non-advertising tier until their contract ends. Especially if it's true that they marketed themsleves as ad-free.

        However the onine grocery shopping thing with charging delivery might be reasonable. Given that Prime doesn't get you free delivery on everything - it's always something you have to look up when you get to the checkout.

        General US and UK contract law are quite similar. But we used to have the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, but I think that might have been folded into a new law with the distance selling and consumer protection stuff.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Question is...

    Does Amazon really make three quid a month per customer from advertising? Does Netflix make nine?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Question is...

      There's a bit more to it than that. Subscriptions are great because, like gym membership, they tend to have long tails of people who hardly use them but never cancel their subscriptions. This skews the "per user" calculations.

      If you've ever looked at advertising spending, and this is what actually matters, you'll realise that they probably make quite a bit more than that. Don't forget that they use the data from the "ad-free" service to profile and market the advertisers and this means they really do know a great deal about their audience and advertisers are happy to pay for high quality data. Note again, that the "per user" number is skewed, advertisers will be bidding only for active users, say British ex-pats in Germany who are interested in IT, are retired and "from a far look like flies".

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Question is...

        There are also network effects for large ad businesses. Your ads carry a big bonus if you can guarantee that at least X% of the population see them. For that reason, when you have a large ad business, you have a strong disincentive to offer ad-free tiers. The reason is that when people switch to the ad-free tier, you not only lose the ad revenue, but you can even charge less for ads, because advertisers know that their ads is reaching only part of the population so they are less valuable.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Question is...

          "because advertisers know that their ads is reaching only part of the population so they are less valuable."

          Said advertisers don't seem to know the cost of annoying potential customers

        2. DJO Silver badge

          Re: Question is...

          In theory perhaps but in the real world a lot of people are advert antagonistic and will actively avoid products that are forcefully advertised. Flinging ads at that sector is not just a waste of money but counter productive.

          Also some ad flingers fight against the blocks - Do they really think if someone sees an advert through a vector they thought was blocked and will think "Gosh, that's clever, I'll buy that product now" instead of the far more probable: "Curse <company> to hell, they'll never get a penny from me".

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Question is...

            I think advertisers will tell you that most people are more than happy with ads. If this were not the case, businesses that depend upon ads but where people can opt out (whether through technical means or otherwise) would fold. Figure of the air but I seem to recall that ad-blockers are on less than 3% of people's devices.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Question is...

              Given the general honestly in the world of advertising, they'd say that even if an angry pitchfork carrying crowd was banging on the door.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Question is...

                This guy probably went on to a great career as an advertising exec considering his denials of the truth :-)

              2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Question is...

                Can't argue you with that but I also think they know when something isn't worth the fight.

              3. Electronics'R'Us
                Devil

                Re: Question is...

                Several years ago (not sure when but it might be 80s) I had a book of Punch magazine [1] cartoons.

                One I will never forget had two advertising people; one was saying to the other:

                "I really have to believe in a product before I can lie about it"

                1. Punch magazine, for the uninformed, was a wonderful somewhat satirical publication that included such things as Spy vs Spy and Let's parler Franglais.

                1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Question is...

                  Ah, Punch. As a lad growing up in the US, one of my key sources of information on English culture, along with Swallows and Amazons, Molesworth, Adrian Mole, and a number of other literary worthies. My local public library was good enough to stock this important journal.

            2. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Question is...

              ad-blockers are on less than 3%

              If that's so one must wonder why they exert any effort at all to circumvent the blocks.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Question is...

                The advertisers don't really, the publishers do.

                1. Handlebars

                  Re: Question is...

                  Obviously since the advertisers do not control the delivery platform, but why do they do that?

                  1. doublelayer Silver badge

                    Re: Question is...

                    The advertisers probably don't care that 3% of the visitors don't see their ads because they won't end up paying much if anything for those people, so it's all the same to them. The publisher sees 3% of the people using their service with the costs associated with delivering it and would like to try getting that revenue back, because what do they care if none of those people buy the advertised stuff? From the publisher's perspective, either that person starts earning them some revenue or that person goes away and they no longer have the costs of providing the service to them. This makes more sense when it's something like YouTube because it's a lot more expensive to send videos to people than to send a text article. That's from the perspective of a person who has done neither, but I'm pretty sure that is what they're thinking.

            3. Patrician

              Re: Question is...

              There is a difference between "putting up" with ads and being "more than happy"; I suggest that "most" do the former.

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Question is...

            The question is how large the group of advert-antagonistic are and how strong their antagonistic reaction is. I am probably in the group, but through a combination of blocking most ads and being able to ignore them more than some people I know, an ad really has to work at it to annoy me enough to get me to dislike its origin. I doubt you're keeping a full list of all the ads you've seen so you can avoid the businesses, especially as many of those would probably either be something you were never going to buy or something you have no choice about because it's the only supplier that offers an acceptable choice when you need the thing they're selling. So if the group is relatively small, those who push the adverts may view it as unimportant, and if the group is small enough, they could even be right that annoying those people and losing their business is cheaper than figuring out who they are and leaving them alone.

            1. Jim Whitaker

              Re: Question is...

              Come on AdBlock, do your stuff!

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Question is...

            in the real world a lot of people are advert antagonistic and will actively avoid products that are forcefully advertised

            In the real world, do you have any actual evidence for that claim?

            I don't watch a lot of television, but when I do, most of the advertisements I see are for companies that seem to be doing just fine, thanks, such as McDonald's.

        3. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Question is...

          Advertisers pay for impressions, not insertions. So if the audience is smaller, they pay less.

          -A.

        4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Question is...

          I'm not sure that's true in this case: the ad-free users are still providing useful demographic data to both the publisher and the advertising company which helps target the ads. Eg. if it's richer, more educated, etc. users that are "ad-free", this will help the advertisers in their planning and they may buy fewer premium slots. Of course, they still want to reach these users so they might start offering "incentives" to the publishers who then increase the "premium" you have to pay to avoid ads and the effect will be the same: the premium is always going to be > commission, which is why everyone tends to end up being fed ads.

        5. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Question is...

          "you have a strong disincentive to offer ad-free tiers"

          The problem is that when they see the advert dollars rolling in, they'll want to be like everything else (1, 2) and enshittify it with endless advertising, which you can be sure will take priority (3), eventually leading to people not only avoiding certain manufacturers due to the excessive adverts for the same few products, but also eventually losing subscribers because of it.

          The cheapest tier is something like fifteen dollars? Holy crap, it was seven euros when I joined just before Covid! That's just greedy.

          I haven't quit Prime Video as I still come out ahead with the free postage (over what I'd have to pay as non Prime). The music service is shit after they "improved" it, and I watch a few movies on Prime but not a lot as the UI sucks massive hairy donkey balls and there's not a lot I'm interested in, which is weird given that Amazon recently bought a major studio (MGM? so you'd have thought......).

          I haven't quit Netflix (yet) as I do watch stuff on it. Like after I've finished my bowl of linguine. But they are annoying with the amount of stuff they cancel. When a new series comes on I'll give it a few weeks (unless it's very interesting to me) to see if it's been cancelled or not. If it is, I'll have to decide if I really want to spend 6/8/10 hours on something they themselves clearly don't believe in. Many of the Korean dramas are actually pretty good.

          But it was the incessant advertising and the ever rising costs that caused me to wave goodbye to Sky (ages ago, when the analogue/digital change was happening).

          1 - my newer Xiaomi has static adverts stuck into their own apps, like the File Manager will promote some idiotic game. I wasn't aware that the cost of my phone was partly subsidised by advertising leading to an attractive price reduction... oh, wait...

          2 - Enshittification? How about damn near any free app these days. Here's a full screen video for some gambling service that looks a complete con. With audio helpfully on by default. And you have to wait X seconds before you can skip it. At which point you'll see a static screen with an animated "GET" button, and a further X seconds until you can skip it (and any tap over the dead centre of the close icon will toss you into the app store), and then there's yet another bloody screen, but this is the last one (for now) so you can exit directly, if you can locate the close method (it's rarely in the same place twice). Fuck advertisers.

          3 - It's why I gave up on AccuWeather (despite the forecasts being more inaccu), they used to have various videos that you could watch. Prior to the videos they would play a video advert. Non-skippable, and at some insanely high quality so on my slow rural broadband mostly what I saw was the spinning buffering animation. Non-skippable, remember. If Prime and Netflix can figure out how to massage the data to match the capability of a user's connection, surely it's not beyond the wit of an advert flinger to do likewise. But they won't because they literally don't give a shit. It's just a +1 in a database of adverts viewed (even if the end viewer didn't get to actually view it). It's dumb shit like this that puts up prices of products.

          Did I mention? Fuck advertisers.

          1. cmdrklarg

            Re: Question is...

            Accuweather lost me when they started with the full screen pop-up ads for useless crap... I absolutely fucking hate annoying things I have to interact with to get them out of the way. Things were just fine with the small banner ads that I could ignore. Bastards! *shakes fist*

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Question is...

              FWIW I use both and pay for Windy (annual subscription) and Today Weather (one off). Windy is a geek's dream but Today Weather has a the Hitchhiker's Guide UI that is very appealing and broadcasts local weather warnings.

              But looking for long range forecasts, I recently discovered MetCheck, looks like hours of endless fun!

              1. cmdrklarg

                Re: Question is...

                I've been using Geometric Weather from F-Droid for my weather needs. Only thing they don't have are radar maps, so if I need that I go to the National Weather Service pages.

          2. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

            Re: Question is...

            Re what you said about Amazon Music yes the UI is so bad that it is nigh impossible to find stuff and then buy it, which is why I stopped doing so. I have no interest in Audible because its quality is not that good, might be OK for the blind who have less alternatives.

            As for the Vidieo... as long as it is free to view fine, I only got Prime for the postage anyway. If they up the cost it is not so useful and cancellation looks viable.

        6. Chet Mannly

          Re: Question is...

          "because advertisers know that their ads is reaching only part of the population so they are less valuable"

          ...and that they are reaching the less financially valuable users - ads don't reach those those that presumably have more disposable income to spend on the higher-priced subscription.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Question is...

            ...and that they are reaching the less financially valuable users - ads don't reach those those that presumably have more disposable income to spend on the higher-priced subscription.

            Another reason ads don't reach those that have more disposable income is that those people have more resources to block ads (either personal technical skills or knowing/hiring somebody with those skills).

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Question is...

        This. Remember like two decades ago, boss said "subscriptions are king".

        About 30% of his customers subscribed, used the product once or twice and never unsubscribed. It paid for the office and staff wages.

        Don't get me wrong - it was easy to unsubscribe.

        But the key was to have a subscription cost low enough, like in the price of a pint, so even if noticed in the bank statement, customer would just not be bothered to cancel as it would be not worth their time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Question is...

          And this isn't even the first layer of shit:

          The price was hiked considerably last year, then Amazon Music was crippled (can now only listen in fairly useless shuffle/random mode), and now these ads (the major reason why people use subscription tv channels is to avoid ads: media services get to pick one source of income or the other, or they can fuck off).

          When it started, Prime seemed to be a fairly priced deal offering fair and useful services. I probably didn't get the fullest value from my subscription but the price paid - and services received - was reasonable enough that I didn't mind.

          Now, I'm looking at it again with now disappointed and cynical eyes, and I don't really buy so much from Amazon that losing Prime Delivery might make that much difference, and everything else is turning to shit and becoming very sub-prime. So it's very likely that I won't continue it come renewal time => complete loss of income. Well, that was a smart move, Amazon, wasn't it?

          «muses» They still have the "unlimited photo storage" service, don't they (I'm sure that will be the next to be enshittified)? Does anyone have a good selection of very large and very poorly compressible image files that we could all upload and DDoS a few AWS data centres with in protest? >;->

          1. heyrick Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Question is...

            Just looked in the Amazon app. My "unlimited photos" currently says "0 bytes of 5GB" are used.

            Well, I see a "limit" right there...

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Question is...

              That looks like the limit for those who don't have a Prime subscription, so that wouldn't be unlimited. If you do have one, maybe their UI is bad and it just won't count up if you upload stuff. Either way, that's not an intentional limit on Prime users.

            2. Groaning Ninny

              Re: Question is...

              The photos are still unlimited I believe, the 5GB is for videos.

              1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                Re: Question is...

                So you extract single frames from your videos and upload until the end of the world?

            3. Patrician

              Re: Question is...

              >Just looked in the Amazon app. My "unlimited photos" currently says "0 bytes of 5GB" are used.

              I think that "limit" is for video not photo's

          2. mistersaxon

            Re: Question is...

            Do you use Kindle Unlimited? It’s a decent benefit as are the free books of the month (or 99p) but that comes at a cost to the author I understand, so a lot of their add-ons don’t even cost them that much.

            But I really use Prime for the delivery and so do many so expect to see that go soon - switched to the Prime Day delivery option and next-day will be extra per order or a plus tier.

    2. asdfasdfasdfasdf

      Re: Question is...

      I think the answer is that it depends on how many adverts you watch. Ads are of the order of $0.30 for 1000. So if you watch 30,000 adverts they're onto a winner.

      The real problem is that there isn't enough advertising $$$ to go around. Hence all the scam adverts on YouTube, etc...

  3. Belperite
    Pirate

    They'll reap what they sow

    Icon ->

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They'll reap what they sow

      I first subscribed to Netflix because the price was interesting and it was just a lot less hassle than other sources of the content I was interested in.

      It would seem that everything comes in cycles, maybe soon it will be time to wear an eyepatch and borrow a parrot.

      1. Bebu Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: They'll reap what they sow

        《soon it will be time to wear an eyepatch and borrow a parrot.》

        Ay Jim me lad, be dropping anchor over in Redit Bay...

        "Fifteen men on the dead man's chest—

        ...Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

        Drink and the devil had done for the rest—

        ...Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! "

        To be honest who would want to steal their enshittified products? Didn't watch "Good Omens" until it came out on (discounted) dvd - I really liked the casting but still preferred the book.

        These days more value and entertainment toddling off to the local for an ale and a bit of a knees up, I should think.

        BTW When is "talk like a pirate day" again?

        1. Dolvaran

          Re: They'll reap what they sow

          "BTW When is "talk like a pirate day" again?"

          September 19th - Hermione Granger's birthday.

        2. Jim Whitaker

          Re: They'll reap what they sow

          "Didn't watch "Good Omens" until it came out on (discounted) dvd - I really liked the casting but still preferred the book."

          I normally have a belief that the film version of a book is worse than the book. Worse, often much, much worse. Good Omens is, for me, an exception to that rule. Indeed I just started last night on about the third watching on Prime.

      2. Chz

        Re: They'll reap what they sow

        My rationale kind of works like this:

        I pay to subscribe to Netflix, Prime, and Cinema Paradiso's DVD rental service. If it's not available on one those... well, Hollywood, I tried. I honestly made an effort to give you money to watch what I want to watch. If that doesn't work, off to 1337x it is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They'll reap what they sow

      Aye.

      When there was just Netflix and Amazon and they had interesting stuff on there, a subscription seemed worth it. Then all the content producers started up their own streaming operations meaning that the legal option is less and less attractive.

  4. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Query: the timing of ads

    Precisely how does Amazon fit ads into its presentation of 'content'?

    Do they occur within the flow of a programme/film, that is, as ad-breaks familiar to commercial TV viewers?

    If so, then what is the frequency of interruption per hour, and what is the range of individual 'break' durations?

    How does this vary among recipient nations? For example, the UK has tighter regulation over terrestrial broadcast 'ad breaks' than the USA. Also, the nature of allowed ads varies.

    Shall Amazon, in laxly controlled regions, adopt highly intrusive advertising, whereby ads show on the screen whilst a programme is running?

    Will there be restriction on sudden, and large, upward variations in sound intensity when a 'break' is entered?

    Also, to consider, is the matter of 'break' influence upon programming. Shall 'content' commissioned by Amazon be created in the knowledge of 'ad break' timings? This distorts dramatic flow when 'cliffhangers' are interpolated in order to retain audience interest across 'breaks'.

    'Profit maximisation', or attempt thereat, in distinction from long-term sustainable income, this in the face of 'piracy', may be counterproductive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      The USA TV advertising system has always baffled me even when I first went over in the 80s and had ad breaks after the opening credits of the tv show (it was Cagney and Lacey for you TV trivia fans). Last time I was there, the type of adverts (vote on proposition XX, your congressman is an idiot, vote for me) alongside the-in programme adverts must detract from the shows they're interfering with.

      Amazon know that most people won't cancel as its the Prime Free Shipping which enticed us in all those years ago, the streaming side seemed to be a happy bonus.

      If any one of my streaming subscriptions goes this year, it will be Disney. Once I've finished all 300 seasons of Family Guy that is...

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        "most people won't cancel as its the Prime Free Shipping which enticed us in all those years ago"

        And yet even without Prime, there are quite reachable conditions under which delivery is free

        1. Gordon861

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          And often, if you know what you want, you can often get it elsewhere cheaper anyways.

          Otherwise I just group stuff together and if I can't get enough for free delivery I just wait until I can.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        As a non-USian I find "normal" TV over there completely unwatchable. There seems to be more ad time than actual program and ad breaks are so long I had usually gotten distracted and wondered off before they even finished. Never mind remember what was actually on. The big draw of streaming is/was the same as it was for cable TV at the start. Lack of ads. With this continuing enshitification it's going to drive people away again.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          Remember "24"? Played on the BBC, they should have renamed it "16"

      3. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        The free shipping thing really isn't worth it for me.

        Without Prime, and a minimum order value of about £20, I can either get free shipping which arrives about a week later, or pay £5 for next-day shipping.

        Prime gives me "free" next-day shipping.

        I usually only need next-day shipping about once or twice a year, so it is cheaper to just pay the £5 when I need it than to pay for Prime.

      4. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        >Once I've finished all 300 seasons of Family Guy that is...

        Ech, it went downhill after Season #195. Past that point it was just interminable fights with the chicken, and increasingly forced "hey remember that time Peter did <x>..." flashbacks.

        Oh no wait, it was always like that.

        Brian and Stewie are occasionally funny but the rest is just stoner-level dross.

        (Bracing for the downvotes from FG fans.)

        1. Chz

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          > stoner-level dross.

          *puff*

          Yup, that's what makes it great. Beavis and Butthead was like that, too.

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      From the last couple of weeks, the adverts seem to appear about 5 seconds before you'd expect them to in the normal flow. Mildly annoying but there are only 2 adverts per 40 minutes or so. Less than we were seeing on their FreeVee service.

      Targeting is hopeless - considering the amount of purchasing data that Amazon have from our account, I have no idea why they're targeting this 50-something with adverts more suited to 20-somethings. I'd not be impressed if I were paying for the adverts.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        Mildly annoying but there are only 2 adverts per 40 minutes or so. Less than we were seeing on their FreeVee service.

        Slowly, slowly, boil that frog....

        1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          Boiled Frog? No, no no! dried frog pills as advbertised on Unseen University (Channel 9.5) are cheaper and better for you

      2. Edward Ashford

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        Most of the targeted ads I see are for things I just bought. Not even related stuff, the actual thing I actually just bought.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          the actual thing I actually just bought.

          And normally won't need replacement for about ten years.

      3. dermots

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        Advertising on the Channel 4 app (or whatever they are calling it these days) has to be the worst though, surely? 3+ minutes unskippable each ~12 minutes or so and if you are just trying to catch the last 5 minutes of something you missed it makes you sit through multiple of those blocks to get to it...

    3. NapTime ForTruth

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      A colleague reports that a ~47 minute episode of vintage Star Trek on Amazon includes ~15 minutes of adverts divided unevenly over 5 occurrences - some are 30 seconds, others are several minutes. They also mentioned that the ads start several seconds ahead of the original slots in the broadcast, interrupting dialog.

      1. RedGreen925 Bronze badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        "A colleague reports that a ~47 minute episode of vintage Star Trek on Amazon includes ~15 minutes"

        That would be my observation of the length of a "one hour" show now about thirty-two minutes of actual content for the decade it was shown. You can see the decrease depending on the decade the show was produced in. The older the show longer the time for the content shown. In the 50s you got 57 minutes or so, 60s 54 ~, 70s down to 48~, 80s down to 44~ and on and on in the reduction per decade since as the parasite TV corporations got greedier and greedier. At least with the Amazon deal they get to skip that other thirteen minutes you would get with the network broadcast of that same show to fill up that hour. That would be my observation of the length of a "one hour" show now about thirty-two minutes of actual content for the decade it was shown in. You can see the decrease depending on the decade the show was produced in. The older the show longer the time for the content shown. In the 50s you got 57 minutes or so, 60s 54 ~, 70s down to 48~, 80s down to 44~ and on and on in the reduction per decade since as the parasite TV corporations got greedier and greedier. At least with the Amazon deal they get to skip that other thirteen minutes you would get with the network broadcast of that same show to fill up that hour. With the no skipping of the four minutes of credits included in that 47 the two minute opening then the two minute closing ones ...

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          Back in the 1980s, New Zealand's GOVERNMENT tv channels screened 20 minutes of advertising per hour and still had the gall to charge a TV license fee.

          When private stations came along with the same amount of advertsiing (or slightly less) Widespread civil discobedience in the 1990s resulted in it finally being scrapped

          I'm glad to have dumped watching broadcast TV years ago and nothing is unskippable if you're determined enough

    4. JacobZ
      FAIL

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      The ads seem to be inserted automatically rather than by a human editor choosing an appropriate slot or even matching the ad break timing originally designed for linear TV. As a result they routinely break scenes 5 to 10 seconds too early, even mid-sentence in some cases.

      FWIW other ad-supported streamers are no better.

      If they're going to monetize us, they could at least be less shoddy about it.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        I've seen the same happen on cable/satellite channels here in the UK too, more so on US owned and/or operated channels.

        I've also noted that Channel 5 catch-up/streaming also has unskippable adverts now so I just record the live transmission of anything I might want to watch (increasingly few things) or find "other sources" rather than use their streaming service.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          WTF? Is there anything worth watching on Channel 5?

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      From what I've experienced since this switch, it's either right at the beginning with an ad or two (similar to NOWTV), and maybe one ad halfway through, or an ad when you've paused and unpause.

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      The concept of a "Natural Break" isn't known in the US. (Its probably been quietly buried in the UK by now.) From the start adverts in the UK have only been allowed between programs and during these natural breaks. In the US adverts are everywhere and are the primary reason I gave up watching TV -- it got to the point where you were lucky to get 18 minutes of actual program content per half hour. (US adverts themselves are crude, shouty things that gibber endlessly at you -- at least the UK tried to put creativity into advertisements so people would actually want to watch them.)

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        God yes. Recent trip to New York exposed us to US TV for a few days.

        Almost nothing was worth sitting through the ads for. Programmes were just filleted into tiny shreds by them. But the ads were awful. Shouty, simple minded and frankly insultingly contemptuous of the viewers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        You're incorrect. In the 1970's live shows, a la The Johnny Carson show, went to commercial when the producer signalled Mr. Carson. For prerecorded tv, the show was edited to have the commercials inserted at camera cuts. Fast forward 40 years and Comcast*, Youtube, Tubi, et al simply insert commercials when, and where they want, regarless of the impact on the show. Somehow I would have expected Youtube, with its algorithms, to be much, much better at this, but they're not.

        * - what i really love is when they off cut of the end of every Johnson&Johnson product ad. You know, the part that says simply "a Johnson&Johnson company."

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Query: the timing of ads

        The concept of a "Natural Break" isn't known in the US. (Its probably been quietly buried in the UK by now.) From the start adverts in the UK have only been allowed between programs and during these natural breaks.

        I think this is the idea still in the UK with Ofcom regulating the amount of ads. Problem is 'natural breaks' then became part of the production. I first noticed this on Spooks, nominally a Bbc show, and thus surely ad-free. It had odd filler scenes that didn't really make much sense, or ad to the story. Then a friend in the trade told me they're 'bumpers', and that's where the ads go. Plus 'stings' to carry over any dramatic tension that may have existed before 3mins of random ads disrupted the flow. It's also something I find very noticeable when watching US shows on ad-free streaming services because those become very obvious.

        Conversely, when I tried watching FreeVee, ads were placed wherever Amazon damn well felt like, including mid-conversation.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          Current. Spooks producers revealed in one of the extras in the early Spooks DVDs that they had to shoot with the US and UK satellite/cable markets in mind, i.e. with 46-50 minutes of 'real' content, and then ten minutes of stuff that fleshed out some things for the Beeb.

          I always found that the Beeb episodes made more sense, because the 'filler', as you call it, actually added context that was simply not there in US episodes of 'MI:5' (the name of Spooks in the US).

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Query: the timing of ads

          Yes, some BBC shows have very obvious feed out- feed in points. And you know that's where the add will go on foreign sales, BBC America etc.

    7. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      Most ads on streaming services are position at designated times with no consideration of the actual content of the show.

      I re-watched X-Files on Freevee (Amazons free service) and ads could literally pop in the middle of a dialog sentence. Though they would roll back the feed a few seconds after each add.

    8. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Query: the timing of ads

      > Precisely how does Amazon fit ads into its presentation of 'content'?

      From my usage of Prime (uk)

      Much content is labelled as containing ads/ad supported, thus you can select to avoid, either through payment or waiting for it to be offered as free.

      However, last night watched a film (free no ads) and then decided to watch the recommended follow up which was also free but contained ads without any notification.

      Ads seem to be randomly inserted, and as other have noted they simply cut into the flow, with the film being rewound by a second or so. There seems to be no way to avoid or shorten the ads, so no fast forwarding etc.

      So far I’ve not had ads in paid for content or content labelled as free on prime, although suspect it will only be a matter of time. Although I have had ads directly before the content has begun to play.

  5. Martin Summers

    I paid for Amazon Prime for fast free delivery. What they decided to introduce as "Value added" was up to them. Upping the price of Prime in general, when they added something I didn't want or need is taking the piss. Then changing the terms of that free delivery, even more. Now I got used to having it as part of the service, they want to charge extra for removing the adverts, even more of a smack in the mush.

    I'd be quite happy if they just went back to free next day delivery and charged what they used to for it. No-one asked them to keep adding these extras to Prime.

    1. Jim Willsher

      Agreed. Free DElivery was the only thing keeping me there, because Prime Video was rubbish. When the price jumped from £79 to £95 last year, that was the time I bailed and re-evaluated my purchases. After all, there's as much Chinese crap on Amazon as there is on ebay now, so I only buy from Amazon when I'm looking for reputable branded stuff, rather than quirky hard-to-find stuff that I could only ever find on Amazon.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "there's as much Chinese crap on Amazon as there is on ebay"

        And Ebay are much easier to deal with when you encounter counterfeits

        1. Gordon861

          If you must buy Chinese crap, just go straight to the source, AliExpress. They are cheaper than Amazon, and some suppliers offer fairly quick delivery.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            A good point.

    2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

      I cancelled not that long after the huge price hike for the bundled video service I didn't want. Not even because of that but because their once outstanding customer service nose-dived; that was before the tidal wave of dodgy Chinese tat. Amazon no longer has anything I want, but it now has plenty of stuff I don't, including the deluge of attempted spam from AWS that they evidently do very little to counter.

      1. Lurko

        Seems I'm OK with Amazon until my one year subscription ends about August. At that point I'll choose which of Netflix or Amazon (or somebody else) deserves my money. If the corporate tosspots at Amazon think I'm paying to watch adverts, then they can fuck off - and as others have noted free delivery can be achieved through other means, and the tidal wave of unbranded and often unsafe Chinese tat that is Amazon now really pisses me off.

        I think it's what happens when a founder or driving force steps back from a company, and the corporate bread-heads step in, aware of the price of everything and the value of nothing. Ebay became an expensive place to sell and dominated by untrustworthy tat after they went down the corporate route, Google gave up on not being evil once the bread-heads were deciding their own exec compensation and trying to please Wall Street. HP turned to shit after its founders were sufficiently long out of the door. Now the "management genii" have the reins at Amazon, they are trying to fleece us, Disney did the same. I worry Netflix will try the same shit as Amazon.

        I suppose at least Meta have been quite refreshing because they've stuck by the same standards they've always had (no privacy and no rights for their users), although I'm not sure that's down to the corporate managers, or simply because Zuck has installed himself as unchallengable King-Emperor for life.

        1. kitekrazy

          I call them stuffed shirts

          Those are the people who look at spread sheets and ignore the "sheet" they spread.

    3. Cereberus

      Which one to bin

      I have Netflix and Amazon, and am looking at which one to drop. Netflix because of the price increases or ads, especially after the password sharing ban that they previously encouraged.

      However, I am leaning towards Amazon, I like the 'free' next day delivery but rarely get anything now. I tend to go to Ali Baba where I can get the same Chinese name items for less money, just have to wait longer for delivery. There is very little I can get from Amazon that is named and that I can't get for the same price or cheaper elsewhere.

      The 3 most annoying things are:

      1) Here is an additional 'Prime' <service> to justify paying extra, that you don't want and won't use like being able to store photos in the cloud.

      2) Here is your Prime video streaming service - sorry if you want to watch that you need to pay £x to watch it as it isn't included in the Prime free to view package.

      An example which showed this recently was 'Ambulance' - on Prime I would have to pay extra to watch it, go to Netflix and it is included in the deal. To make it worse this doesn't just apply to new films or shows when they are first released on streaming but can be shows that a years old.

      3) I search for something on Amazon, then say sort it into order based on price and it jumps from 20 pages of items to 2, and most of the items shown don't actually meet the search criteria.

      The more I think about it the more I think I will drop Amazon.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Which one to bin

        You might want to poll the family…

        In my house a few years back it was The Grand Tour, then The 100, currently it’s Clarksons Farm, so it was Netflix that got rejected…

        1. Martin Summers

          Re: Which one to bin

          "You might want to poll the family…

          In my house a few years back it was The Grand Tour, then The 100, currently it’s Clarksons Farm, so it was Netflix that got rejected…"

          I watched the Grand Tour and Clarksons Farm, those are good shows that made Amazon streaming worth happening. However, if they'd never launched a streaming service and all their added extras I'd never know any different and there's a good chance someone else may have paid to make those series anyway. Fact is there's loads of production houses touting their concepts waiting for someone to pick them up. Only thing is the likes of Grand Tour might not have had the same budget, who knows.

          If the Amazon streaming service didn't need so much cash pumping into it then I might still have the same service I signed up for at the same price. They were literally printing their own cash and now their screwing it up, along with all the other reasons i.e tat that will eventually cause them to sink.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Which one to bin

            >” Only thing is the likes of Grand Tour might not have had the same budget”

            The opinion in our house was it got better when they introduced some BBC style budget constraints and production values.

            1. Giles C Silver badge

              Re: Which one to bin

              There won't be any more Grand Tour, there is one out tomorrow (Friday 16th) and another later in the year but Clarkson, Hammond and May have decided not to make any more - they are getting too old and have been everywhere (their words not mine).

              That will leave Clarkson's Farm and Good Omens as the only things I am interested in watching on Prime.....

      2. VicMortimer Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Which one to bin

        It can be both!

      3. Lurko

        Re: Which one to bin

        I think Amazon will be the one to drop. Even allowing for the Netflix foibles of cancelled or incomplete series, and cyclical boom and bust on original content, I think Netflix is leagues ahead of Amazon. In large part because a good proportion of Netflix original content is very good and because a lot of the stuff they buy in is good.

        Watched "The Outfit" last night, not a Netflix Original, but still absolutely amazing. Tiny budget, tiny cast, tiny set and yet an hour and a half of on-your-seat-edge captivation. Almost as personal as the theatre. British audiences will particularly appreciate the dynamics between Mark Rylance's lead character and the rest of the cast, and it's fantastic to see such high quality content from US writers/directors Graham Moore and Johnathan McClain.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which one to bin

        One trouble we have with Netflix is they tend to stop providing movies or shows. I don't often want the latest-and-greatest shows; I'd rather have the old stuff. And offering Seasons 3-5 of a given show but dropping 1 and 2 is ridiculous.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Which one to bin

          "And offering Seasons 3-5 of a given show but dropping 1 and 2 is ridiculous."

          I've noticed that too. In at least some cases though, a series may be dropped by a broadcaster or even production house, and then picked again by another, so there's two or more lots of rights holders to deal with for differing seasons. I'm not defending the practice, mind :-)

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Which one to bin

          This. I will never substitute my personal collection for a streaming service when stuff can be pulled at any time.

    4. Trixr

      Whereas I'm in the opposite boat - in the antipodes, there's no such thing as "next day" shipping for Amazon Prime, not that I've ever bought anything from Amazon that would warrant it. I just want some TV shows and the occasional movie - including some of their originals. If they separated their streaming business from their marketplace, I'd be all for it, since I'm currently paying for a "benefit" I have no use for. I absolutely do not want the ads.

  6. StewartWhite
    Thumb Up

    What a name!

    Personally I think that the plantiff should be awarded the win immediately just for having the name "Wilbert Napoleon" - it made me smile on a damp Wednesday afternoon.

  7. Snake Silver badge

    Disgusting

    "A previous lawsuit filed against Amazon in 2022 covered similar ground, claiming the retail giant promised Prime free delivery from Whole Foods after it acquired the company, but later, in 2021, charged a $9.95 delivery fee. Amazon recently filed a motion to dismiss [PDF] the suit saying the Prime Terms give Amazon the "sole discretion" to add or remove Prime benefits, with the court previously agreeing Amazon "had contractual authority to suspend"... "any benefits of Prime membership, including free delivery and two-hour delivery."

    An absolutely disgusting decision by a court that must be appealed to the very highest level.

    If a corporation is allowed to change terms of the contract, worse at their "sole discretion", then for all intents and purposes you don't have a contract. A "contract" that one party can change ON THEIR WHIM is not a contract, it is a "promissory note" of the simple intent of honoring their word. The court has given Big Corp the very power to renegotiate a contract, unilaterally, without a single point of recourse from the customer's end.

    This is the most disgusting appearance of American corporatism that I think I've ever seen. Why bother to claim a "contract" when it is, really, only one-sided?? When that side has the power to do anything they want, without any legal repercussions?? That "contract" is just a LIE to them but holds YOU in contempt if *you* have the nerve to object to it.

    It is also a MASSIVE failure of the plaintiff's lawyers to fundamentally make their case in this manner. You shouldn't have lost. A contract is a contract, but if changes are allowed they must be allowed by all parties otherwise it is only a "contract" as far as one side is concerned; to the other side, it's just a promise.

    1. Helcat

      Re: Disgusting

      While I agree in principle, in practice you've agreed to those terms by signing the contract so they can, legally, make those changes (which is what the judge is stating). What they can't do is override your legal rights in doing so, which limits what changes they can make, and what rights you retain.

      For example, by changing the terms and conditions (and provisions of service) in many countries you can cancel membership (how they phrase it) immediately and without penalty plus demand a refund on any remaining balance (if you pay yearly and have x months left for example - you are entitled to a refund for those x months). Not sure if that's true in the US, but it's true in the UK/EU.

      It's about all we can do, but yes, it is disgusting that they are making changes like this (rather than they can). It smacks of greed and a distain for the customer. That they also push their 'prime membership' and make it hard to avoid their 'free trial', especially as you then have to cancel it else they start charging just makes this all so much worse.

      1. chuckamok

        Re: Disgusting

        Placement of click-thru legal agreements is a key component of enshittification.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Disgusting

      "Unfair terms in consumer contracts" laws spring to mind - both in Europe and North America

      For the court to say that Amazon can do this, the paintiff must not have invoked those laws, as such contract terms have been struck down repeatedly on both sides of the Atlantic

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        Re: Disgusting

        Terms like this, where the provider of a server can change the terms of the service "at their digression" are common in many industries and have been litigated many times. Unfair terms must be determined to be unfair from the initiation of the contract or so gross of a change that it is determined that it is predatory. These clauses have survived these challenges and will survive this.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Disgusting

          These used to be called "bus ticket" terms, when I was a kid. i.e. the ts and cs simply said that you were entitled to travel on a bus. But not which bus, when or how far.

  8. Jonathon Green
    Pirate

    Aaaaarggggh me hearties…

    …’tis time to raise the black flag again and set sail on the briny deep once more in search of ad-free plunder!

  9. original_rwg

    "Contract"

    Darth Vader: "I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further."

    1. Pete Sdev Bronze badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: "Contract"

      https://youtu.be/WpE_xMRiCLE?si=tU0z3o3oXufHyDE9

      Just imagine Jeff Bezos in the black suit...

      1. SotarrTheWizard

        Re: "Contract"

        Wrong Bad Guy. . .

        WE ARE BEZOS OF BORG. YOU WILL BE PRIMED. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. . . .

    2. excperr

      Re: "Contract"

      CON-tract

  10. tiggity Silver badge

    Hardware sales

    Given the likes of Amazon fire sticks, Amazon Fire TVs, there's also potentially an argument that customers bought into the ad free Prime Video concept to the extent of making hardware purchases in the "Amazon hardware eco-system" that made viewing of Prime video easier on a TV (e.g. not everyone has a smart TV with Prime app installed & so some form of "stick" accessory is a common workaround - customer planned streaming uses can drive choice as to whether to purchase a Roku, Amazon, chromecast etc "stick").

    As a side issue, on ad including basic tier, also dumped Dolby Atmos & Dolby Vision (to the chagrin of some folk with high end audio visual systems* apparently )

    * Not me, but found out from a friend via a music & tech related mailing list we are both on

    1. Necrohamster Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Hardware sales

      At least the Fire TV sticks are useful in that you can sideload IPTV apps for added "Yaaarr!", although I believe they plan to remove the sideloading ability just like the NowTV/Roku sticks.

    2. VonDutch

      Re: Hardware sales

      The dropping of Dolby Vision/Atmos isn't getting as much airtime as the Ad insertion. Glad someone mentioned it.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Is Amazon trying to kill Prime?

    Are they actually losing a lot of money on it, and want to reduce it?

    Amazon is usually not this stupid. It's obviously going to get a ton of people to cancel.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: It's obviously going to get a ton of people to cancel.

      You must be a youngster, you still have faith in human nature and you think because the deal is bad people will reject it.

      The vast majority of people will either i) just put with the ads or ii) pay the 2.99 to go back to where they were.

      Enough will pay the 2.99 that this is seen as a success and they'll try it again in a few months.

      I would really love to be wrong on this but look at recent history. Netflix made a much bigger deal about password sharing than Amazon did about being Ad free, it was part of their original marketting that sharing passwords was good. And yet very few people cancelled their netflix subs when they started cracking down. I don't see why this would work out any differently.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Is Amazon trying to kill Prime?

      Amazon is usually not this stupid. It's obviously going to get a ton of people to cancel.

      Apart from when they threw a billion at Rings of Power and a eight and a half billion at MGM... which is the reason Prime TV turned into a money pit in a first place.

  12. Phiphi in SoCal

    Sign me up to the class.

  13. MJI Silver badge

    If I see ads

    I am going to pay the 2.99, bash out James May in India, Clarksons Farm.

    Then cancel prime.

    Then investigate getting downloaded vidoes from PC to PS4 without burning to BluRay

    Looks like I will jet have our national broadcaster with no logos on main channels, nor proper adverts beyond itself.

    I have dropped stuff before over on screen logos!!!

    Adverts will get dropped.

    Glad I got the Expanse finished

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: If I see ads

      Then investigate getting downloaded vidoes from PC to PS4 without burning to BluRay

      You might wish to invest in a Raspberry Pi and install qBittorrent-nox and MiniDLNA on it. Added benefit being that you can also run Pi-Hole on it at the same time.

  14. cookieMonster Silver badge
    WTF?

    Looks like home

    downloading, ripping and sharing are going to be back in fashion soon

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refunded

    I signed up for a yearly subscription the day before the price hike was announced. I complained when the email came through and they agreed to refund me for 11 months, which they paid a few days later. At least I got to watch every episode of Clarkson's Farm while I had it!

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    And in other news...

    Baldy Bezos sells $4B worth of AMZN stock.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68277678

    He must we planning in buying a whole country with that much mulah. Perhaps he will go there and take all of AMZN with him.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: And in other news...

      I might be wrong about what Baldy is going to spend that money on.

      There are reports that he is going into real estate ownership. Apparently, he's looking at buying whole new subdivisions before they are built for rental.

      Will the rental agreement state that everything in the house has to come from AMZN? Your groceries from his supermarket... etc etc.

      Brings a whole new meaning to 'company town'.

      1. Cthrag Yaska

        Re: And in other news...

        > Brings a whole new meaning to 'company town'.

        Old hat. During the industrial revolution in the UK, factory owners would pay workers in tokens that could only be spent in shops owned by the factory owners.

  17. Tubz Silver badge

    Dump all your subscriptions, pay for DVD/BRs, format shift, build your own cheap Plex server, all the stuff "you" want, when "you" want it and view as many times as "you" want too, plus plenty of free channels of questionable content. Notice the big thing in my statement .... "YOU" !!!!

    1. wub

      Don't overlook your local library

      I don't know about other areas/countries, but here in southern California, all the public libraries have DVD/BR collections which can be checked out free. Some libraries in my area also subscribe to a service called Kanopy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanopy) which is a streaming service that does not charge viewers money - look up the deal. For those who are tracking the advertising thread - Kanopy has no ads.

      For some reason, that I do not understand, I can get library cards for cities I do not live in, provided I show up in person with the right identification. Apparently, this operates statewide in California. Again, I have no idea whether this is true in other areas. I have not gotten really ambitious about this, so I only have three library cards, so far...

  18. DS999 Silver badge

    I assumed this was coming

    Since they charge for a year's worth of Prime but are then changing the terms of the agreement within that year, they may well end up on the wrong side of this lawsuit. All they would have had to do is either say "this charge will begin when your Prime membership renews" or offer prorated refunds to all Prime members who choose not to opt in to the extra payment.

    I'm sure they thought of this, so their lawyers probably said the lost revenue from doing the above (i.e. waiting to charge people up to a year later than they did, or giving refunds to unhappy customers) is larger than the amount they expect they will be forced to cough up in the end.

    Looking forward to my $9 check four years from now lol

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I assumed this was coming

      "Looking forward to my $9 check four years from now lol"

      Wow! You are clearly a glass half full person! I'd think the "compensation" would more likely be an aAmazon shopping voucher, worth $10 to you but more like $5 or less to Amazon.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: I assumed this was coming

        I'd take a $10 Amazon voucher over $9 in cash, since $10 at Amazon is worth more than $9 cash unless something cheaper than Amazon comes along.

  19. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Then there's Ring

    We're now ex-Amazon Ring subscribers. Because they suddenly upped the subscription by 50% a few days ago for no particular reason beyond that they could.

    We bought a TAPO (TP-Link) door bell.(Ironically through Amazon Prime) I like their stuff - it works. And since most of the stuff we buy is made in China anyway we might as well get it straight from the source </cynic>

  20. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Flame

    Foxtrot Oscar

    Paid for streaming services were a wonderful thing. I have NO PROBLEM paying for ad-free content.

    Then Paramount pulled all their content from Netflix and Amazon Prime. So I loaded up Paramount Plus. I am a techie, so yeah, I like Star Trek.

    Netflix went woke with their content. Fine by me, and I wish them no ill will. However, I am not their target market. I do have a choice in what content I wish to consume, and their content no longer appealed to me. So bye-bye.

    Then Paramount Plus took their ad-free from $50/yr to $120/yr. Yeah, they tossed Showtime in the package, but I don't want Showtime. Not going to pay for it, so bye-bye there too.

    Amazon Prime?? I live a long way from town, so the "free" shipping actually makes financial sense for me versus the time & gas to go shopping. Their content has always been third tier though. It really is in last place. We rarely even browse it. So who gives a crap if it goes ad-supported. That just means it sucks worse.

    Streaming services are really beginning to 'Jump the Shark'. They had a good thing, but got greedy and ruined it. They can all Foxtrot Oscar.

  21. JWLong

    Ads

    Haven't sen one in twenty years on any of my PC's.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a kid of the 60s, I grew up with 3 TV channels

    For the life of me, I can’t see any reason to pay cash to watch TV.

    There are now endless shows to watch on YouTube and Free to air and Catch-up stations.

    The choice is practically endless.

    So I miss a few “popular” shows, meh!

  23. Jeff Smith

    That’s not all

    They’ve taken dolby vision and dolby atmos away from the standard tier too without telling anyone. For the most part this only really affects the content they’ve produced themselves, so they’re enshittifying their own work.

    You can see why the likes of Christopher Nolan are so concerned about the loss of ownership. Easy to imagine a future where it’s impossible to watch movies without ads shoved into them.

  24. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    "Wilbert Napoleon"? That's just fantastic!

    Download those deed poll forms for change of name ... then Hollywood here I come :-)

  25. Binraider Silver badge
    Flame

    Since the takeover of streaming services, the list of TV I have actually bothered watching has dwindled considerably, either on stream or on broadcast.

    Endless reams of US-produced "we want to be like Friends, but not Friends" shows and "DRAMA", or badly written faux detective stories that can be seen through at 5 miles though leaded glass hardly inspire viewership.

    There are a handful of gems out there but sifting through the pile of garbage has no hold on me. Anything good will be released on disc anyway; and as such, you can watch it there without ads or subscription tie in to half a dozen services at cost of maybe waiting a few months for the disc to be published. Masters of the Air comes to mind.

    And don't get me started on the shitshow that has happened to British telly production. Beeb have adopted tokenism to the point of it being painful, ITV stopped producing anything intelligent maybe 20 years ago, and C4 are left as an outlier that occasionally produces something good - in amongst a load of drivel. Made In Chelsea? Cunts from London more like.

    1. Necrohamster Silver badge
      Pint

      "C*nts from London"

      My production company is moving forward with this concept (and the sister show "W*ankers from Up North"), which we hope to bring to More4 in the autumn.

      Your royalty cheque will follow soon after.

  26. HKmk23

    Personally I think both Prime tv and Netflix are rubbish

    Unless you are a teenage American girl there is nothing on either Prime or Netflix that appeals to anyone with an IQ over 90.

    We have both streams but will be cancelled as soon as the end of the month comes.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Personally I think both Prime tv and Netflix are rubbish

      Amazon Prime WAS worth it for

      The Expanse

      The Grand Tour

      James May, our man in ....

      Good Omens S1

      Reacher

      Man in a High Castle

      Just a few examples, most are gettable by nefarious means if sadverts appear.

  27. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    full circle

    Now that nearly all of the streaming services will have unskippable ads (unless you pay extra), we've come full circle to ye olden days of broadcast TV before VCRs and DVRs. As with live sporting events, commercials are once again for potty/snack breaks.

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