Is This the End of Ad-Free Streaming Services?

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February 4, 2024

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

While Amazon Prime continues to add exciting titles and originals like the upcoming series “Malice” starring David Duchovny and the horror-thriller Trunk, they are also adding something else; ads and streaming subscribers are pissed.

Streaming Giants No Longer Ad Free:

Gone are the days of uninterrupted binge-watching. The golden age of ad-free streaming appears to be fading as major platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube tighten their grip on ad revenue. This shift has sparked an outcry from users accustomed to seamless viewing experiences. But the financial allure of advertising proves irresistible for these giants.

Subscribers Are Abandoning Ship:

The first domino fell in January 2024. When Amazon Prime Video introduced limited ads to its streaming platform. Despite prior warnings, the move stung many who had already witnessed a 43% price hike in May 2023. The company justifies the change by citing the need to “continue investing in compelling content,” promising “meaningfully fewer ads” than traditional TV. However, users remain skeptical, with some vowing to cancel their Prime memberships altogether.

Netflix Delivers A Blow:

Across the pond, Netflix delivered another blow to ad-free enthusiasts. In its fourth-quarter earnings report, the streaming giant announced plans to retire its Basic ad-free plan in Canada and the UK. This budget-friendly option, a favorite among cost-conscious viewers, will be phased out in favor of pricier ad-free tiers. Netflix claims the ad-supported plan now accounts for 40% of sign-ups in its ad markets, but the move suggests a strategic shift towards maximizing ad revenue.

YouTube Does Viewers Dirty:

Even free platforms like YouTube aren’t immune to the ad-revenue fever. In 2023, the platform cracked down on ad-blockers, frustrating users who relied on them for uninterrupted viewing. A pop-up notification now restricts ad-blocker users to just three videos before disabling playback. The message nudges them towards YouTube Premium, the platform’s $13.99 ad-free subscription service allowing you to watch more videos and free movies (not all movies are free on Premium).


The trend is clear. Streaming services are prioritizing ad revenue. With Digital TV Research predicting a surge from $6 billion in 2023 to $20 billion in 2029 for ad-supported subscriptions, the pressure to monetize content will only intensify. While some users may embrace the ad-infused future, others will likely seek alternative platforms or alternative methods to reclaim their ad-free havens. The battle lines are drawn, and the future of uninterrupted streaming hangs in the balance.

What Will You Do?

As if inflation on the prices of everything from groceries to gas wasn’t bad enough, the greed of streaming giants is aiming to hit us hard. The question is, will viewers abandon their services and tune into free services like Tubi (which has ads) and Plex or services with free options like Redbox and VUDU? Will you drop the services or pay more for the ad-free option?

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