Prime Video just found a way to take its terrible ads to the next level

Invincible Prime Video
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Amazon has been tinkering with the ads on Prime Video a lot this year. And it's about to get crappier.

In January, Amazon turned on limited ads as a default option for Prime Video. This means that most shows and movies will have, at the very least, advertisements before the program starts, if you're lucky. If not, you get ads inserted into movies and shows at seemingly random times.

And users have been complaining, and rightfully so since Prime Video is a service people pay for — at least ostensibly through their Amazon Prime subscription. In fact, Amazon has even been sued over Prime Video ads. Anyone who doesn't want to have ads on Prime Video has to pay an extra $3 a month for the option. 

Now Amazon is experimenting with advertising and shopping. Ahead of upfront presentations to advertisers, Amazon is working to make it easier to buy products while watching shows, movies or sports on Prime Video.

According to an Amazon blog post (via Hollywood Reporter), the company is introducing three new formats that enable Prime Video watchers to purchase products.

Amazon is announcing three new ad formats that emphasize shoppability. The goal is to make it easier for users to add products to their Amazon carts with just their TV remote and without QR codes. 

The three formats are shoppable carousel ads, interactive pause ads and interactive brand trivia ads. 

The shoppable carousel ads are a slideshow of products from sponsors during Prime Video commercial breaks. Viewers will be able to flip through the slides and add items to their carts. We'd expect to see this one during live sports and the free videos and shows that feature regular commercial breaks.

Interactive pause ads pop up when users pause a video. Amazon says they will add a translucent banner that lets shoppers/viewers instantly add products to their Amazon cart. 

The interactive trivia ads are supposed to provide facts about the advertised brand or more information about the product shown. Of course, they will also let users shop. The trivia ads are also positioned to offer rewards that customers can unlock, like Amazon shopping credits, by purchasing specified products.

The carousel and trivia ads are new, but the interactive pause ads have been around for some time on other services. Hulu started tinkering with pause-activated advertising in 2019. Even YouTube has variations on paused video ads. Most of them are surveys that require clicking to skip through.

According to Amazon, Prime Video's ad-tier experience has a monthly reach of over 200 million viewers. So people aren't bothered by the ads on Prime Video or aren't interested in shelling out an extra $3 a month to make them disappear.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.