Written by 01:05 Business

What Happened to Ad-Free TV on Streaming Services?

Not long ago, streaming TV came with a promise: Sign up, and commercials will be a thing of the past.

Netflix rose to streaming dominance in part by luring customers to an ad-free experience. Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max followed that lead.

Well, that did not last long.

Ads are getting increasingly hard to avoid on streaming services. One by one, Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+ and Max have added 30- and 60-second commercials in exchange for a slightly lower subscription price. Amazon has turned ads on by default. And the live sports on those services include built-in commercial breaks no matter what price you pay.

The importance of advertising was driven home this month when Amazon and Netflix both staged their first in-person presentations during the so-called upfronts, a decades-old television event in New York where media companies try to woo advertisers.

Netflix dispatched Shonda Rhimes, the successful executive producer of “Bridgerton” and creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” to talk up the service to marketers. Amazon packed its event with celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal, and a live performance from Alicia Keys.

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Last modified: 27 May 2024
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