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Amazon gives non-members just a taste of free TV viewing with Instant Video update

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday June 23, 2014.

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Amazon Instant Video offers free viewing of many movies and TV episodes to Prime subscribers, but you can also view anything in its catalog by paying a set fee. Now Amazon offers users a chance to view some videos in an ad-supported format. Amazon had previously stated that it had no desire to break from its paid streaming services and create an ad-support format a la Hulu, but the company has slightly changed its tune.

An update to the Amazon Instant Video app for iOS includes a new option to stream the first episode of some TV shows. These shows are marked "First Episode Free" will be played with short advertisement breaks that non-paying members must sit through. Once the video is over, Amazon will show how many other episodes are available to watch, but viewing them will cost extra. And there lies the reason Amazon is doing this. Ad revenue from one episode is peanuts compared to how much the company spends on acquiring content. However, if someone becomes enthralled by a pilot episode and decides to pay full price to view more or signs up for a Prime account, Amazon has found a way to entice a customer.

There's currently no update for the Android app, but that's likely to follow soon. Amazon also updated the app to include new playback controls and add new content from HBO, including early seasons of The Sopranos, The Wire, Rome, and Deadwood.

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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