Just weeks before it introduces ads to Prime Video, Amazon is reportedly laying off "several hundred" employees in its streaming division.
According to IndieWire, stunned Prime Video and MGM staffers were informed of the decision via email today (January 10) by Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice-President of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios. The announcement comes less than 24 hours (at the time of writing) after Bloomberg reported that Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming service, was also losing 35% of its workforce, which amounts to around 500 employees.
In a copy of the memo obtained by IndieWire, part of Hopkins' email reads: "Our industry continues to evolve quickly and it’s important that we prioritize our investments for the long-term success of our business. We’ve identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact. As a result of these decisions, we will be eliminating several hundred roles across the Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios organization.
"This is a difficult decision to make and one that my leadership team and I do not take lightly. It's hard to say goodbye to talented Amazonians who’ve made meaningful contributions on behalf of our customers, team and business. Thank you for your dedication and work."
We've reached out to Amazon and Prime Video for comment on the redundancies, and we'll update this article if we hear back.
Ad nausea for Prime Video staffers and users alike
News of the lay-offs will come as a crushing blow to those affected, especially when Amazon is preparing to follow the lead of many of the world's best streaming services, including Netflix, by introducing ads to its Prime Video streaming platform.
In June 2023, we reported on rumors about the introduction of adverts on Prime Video. When news broke in September that Amazon planned to bring ads to Prime Video in 2024, industry experts speculated that Prime Video's ad-supported plan could eventually net Amazon up to $6 billion in revenue a year.
Just four months later, the mega-corporation officially confirmed that ads would make their Prime Video debut from January 29 onwards. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a Prime Video Lite tier, either – so, if you're subscribed to Amazon Prime (the monthly membership that allows you to use Prime Video for free), you'll be stuck with up to four ad breaks per hour of TV you watch.
I always thought Prime Video/Amazon Studios was immune to layoffs because of all the money $$$ that their parent company brought in. Guess not... Sad for those who are getting laid off. It's hard finding a job in this economy. https://t.co/zu3pR2zeBTJanuary 10, 2024
Well, unless you stump up a further $2.99 / £2.99 a month for an ad-free experience (Prime Video with ads won't arrive in Australia until later in 2024). According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, one top advertising executive thinks Prime Video users would be silly to fork out the extra cash, adding: "Almost no one will do that, are you kidding me?"
IndieWire's sources claim the lay-offs represent a "relatively small percentage" of Prime Video and MGM's workforce. However, it's nonetheless hugely disappointing to see Amazon let hundreds of staffers before it introduces ads on Prime Video, which are sure to significantly increase its income. In short: if you're considering cancelling your Prime Video subscription ahead of ads debuting on the service, you'll want to binge one or more of the best Prime Video movies or best Prime Video shows before you walk away.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
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