Ads on Prime Video prompt class action

Prime Video subscribers will have to sit through ads if they don't want to pay more for their membership.

Prime Video subscribers will have to sit through ads if they don't want to pay more for their membership. Photo: Getty

Amazon’s Prime Video is among the many streaming platforms to introduce ad breaks, but a fed-up subscriber is taking them to court.

Last month, Amazon announced ads would interrupt its movies and series from January 29 for accounts in the US, UK, Germany and Canada.

Prime Video plans to begin ads later this year in Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

However, the move has prompted a lawsuit seeking class action status in California’s federal court.

The lawsuit alleges Amazon engaged in false advertising and deceptive practices for altering its terms.

This comes after Prime Video took a different approach to introducing ads to its service than Netflix and Binge.

No choice

Rather than letting subscribers choose to move down to a cheaper ad-supported subscription tier, Prime Video applied the change to existing accounts automatically.

If subscribers wished to stream content uninterrupted, they would have to pay extra.

“Subscribers must now pay extra to get something they already paid for,” the lawsuit states.

The Hollywood Reporter reports in addition to being “unfair”, the lawsuit alleges Amazon illegally benefited by advertising Prime Video as commercial-free for years before launching the ad-supported tier.

“For years, Amazon advertised that its Prime subscription included ad-free streaming of movies and tv shows,” the suit claims.

“Like other consumers, [the] Plaintiff purchased the Prime subscription, believing that it would include ad-free streaming of movies and TV shows. But it does not.”

The lawsuit alleges Amazon’s conduct was “immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous and substantially injurious to consumers”.

The proposed class action seeks at least $5 million and a court order barring Amazon from engaging in further deceptive conduct on behalf of users who subscribed to Prime before December 28, 2023.

The introduction of ads comes less than a year after Amazon Prime increased the cost of membership – which covers Prime Video as well as services such as Prime Reading – for the first time since its 2018 launch in Australia.

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