Home Daily News Roundup Amazon Prime Shall Soon Have Ads; Programmatic Has Delicate Dynamics

Amazon Prime Shall Soon Have Ads; Programmatic Has Delicate Dynamics


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Primed For Ads

Amazon Prime is the latest streaming service that will add ads, Variety reports.

Early next year, ad units will start to appear in Prime Video shows and movies for subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Germany. Though people will have the option to remain ad-free for an additional $3 per month – a page from when Disney+ added ads last year. Netflix, on the other hand, undercut its preexisting subscription with its new ad tier, but it didn’t push people there by default. 

Amazon is no stranger to ad-supported streaming – it has its free service (Freevee) and a new app with free channels on Fire TV – but including ads with a previously ad-free streaming service always comes with risk. Ads raise average revenue per user, but oversaturation or ad-quality miscues can drive viewers away.

Amazon says in a release that Prime Video needs ads “to continue investing in compelling content.” 

However, Prime Video ads will also create a super-valuable new river of CTV inventory, which is likely exclusive to Amazon ad tech (à la YouTube and Google Ads).

A Delicate Ecosystem

Brian Morrissey writes in his newsletter The Rebooting that he’s come around on the term “media ecosystem.”

It’s a silly bit of jargon but, he notes, captures how the media, tech and data businesses are “complex, dynamic and easily thrown out of balance.”

It’s an important point. Because the companies that make up the category aren’t just interdependent; they’re fragile and can go away practically before you realize something’s wrong. 

“The reason many obvious issues of quality in the programmatic supply chain go unaddressed is because it isn’t in many people’s interests to do so,” Morrissey says. 

With Google, in particular, the misaligned incentives are deeply entrenched. Recent disclosures during the DOJ antitrust trial – that Google raised advertiser clients’ search auction prices when it needed to achieve its own quarterly sales goal – may not even force much change when all is said and done. After all, for many ad buyers, it was hardly a secret.

“Everyone knew [Google] could turn the dials to deliver whatever the shadow number was because they owned the only parking lot in a resort town,” Morrissey writes. 

Cleaning the Aisles

Walmart could have a major advertising monster with its third-party seller marketplace, which now boasts 100,000 active sellers, according to the market research company Marketplace Pulse

Walmart’s marketplace widened in March 2021, when it opened to international sellers, bringing in a flood of Chinese manufacturers. But Walmart made tweaks that vastly reduced its Chinese seller count, and since April of this year, US seller numbers have dramatically increased. 

Compared to Amazon, which has sellers like the universe has atoms, or even Etsy’s millions of sellers, 100,000 sellers is trifling. But Walmart is adding third-party businesses that want and know how to advertise. And they’re based in America.

TikTok has doggedly tried to add American sellers to its third-party marketplace, but can’t catch on. And unlike, say, Temu or even Instagram, where customers can hardly be disillusioned – “You paid 9 cents for a pan that was shipped across the Pacific Ocean. What did you expect?” – Walmart is cultivating trust in its sales. 

“It’s unclear what changes [Walmart] implemented to reduce their number,” Marketplace Pulse says of Walmart’s reduction of Chinese sellers and growth of US accounts. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Krishan Bhatia is leaving NBCUniversal. [Ad Age]

The bizarre cottage industry of YouTube obituary pirates. [Wired]

The Apple-Disney deal that could actually happen (but not really). [Insider]

Creators are still turning down work as the actors strike continues. [Digiday]

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