Amazon Prime Video: “Almost worse than normal television!” – Commercial breaks make series creators angry


Anyone who wants to stream series like “Reacher” on Amazon Prime Video will now have to live with advertising in Germany – or pay more. That’s why US directors are taking to the barricades.

Reacher: You’ll soon only be able to watch Amazon series with commercial breaks (Source: Amazon Studios)

Streaming services initially seemed like the ideal alternative to linear television. Without advertising and regardless of time, you could now watch series and films whenever and wherever you wanted. But those times are at least partially over.

Netflix and Disney+ already offer extremely popular subscription models with advertising, and since February 5, 2024, Amazon Prime Video has also done so in Germany. What is special here is that there is no independent advertising subscription; instead, advertising is simply integrated into the only existing subscription. If you don’t want to see advertising, you can pay 2.99 euros more per month.

Amazon “serves pudding like cake”

Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers (Source: ©Hulu / ©Amazon Prime Video)

It’s a step that not only upsets many subscribers, but also the producers of streaming series. “Tokyo Vice” creator Alan Poul told THR:

We fought so hard to get rid of advertising. This was one of the biggest steps in bringing the worlds of television and film closer together and attracting more sought-after artists to participate. That was such a game-changing win, and now that’s reversing.

Alan Poul

In the past, each act of a series episode was marked by a short fade to black, so this was a suitable place for advertising. Some newer series, such as “Star Trek: Picard” and “Percy Jackson”, rely again on these placeholders for commercial breaks. Other series, such as “Tokyo Vice” but also “Nine Perfect Strangers” on Amazon Prime Video, deliberately avoided such an interruption.

Sometimes it ruins the piece. I thought Nine Perfect Strangers was terrible with commercials. We sold it as an hour-long show, and it was served like a cake – but it was pudding. You can’t slice pudding, and that’s exactly what you did.

David E. Kelley, producer of “Nine Perfect Strangers”

According to “Tokyo Vice” producer Poul, this new publishing system is almost worse than linear television, where you could at least record shows and skip the commercials. In the stream you are at the mercy of these – admittedly quite short – commercial breaks.

The Federal Association of Consumer Organizations has now sued Amazon Prime Video because, in their opinion, there has been a significant change to the contract that requires the subscriber’s approval in Germany.

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