Amazon appears to be headed toward bringing TV advertising to its Prime video streaming service as a job ad in the UK seeks an individual to head its free-to-air TV and ad efforts in Europe.
TechCrunch reports that he job posting was originally entitled “Head of Free to Air TV & Advertising”, but Amazon abruptly changed it to “Head of Prime Video Channels Free To Air TV & Advertising TV Partner Channels” after the posting started to get news coverage. They then changed it a third time to “Head of Prime Video Partner Channels”, removing references to advertising or free-to-view but retaining the same job ID number – and encouraging further speculation.
The position’s responsibilities include developing the European strategy for Prime Video’s ad-funded and free-to-air channels and working together with European broadcasters to translate their needs into “Amazon capabilities and execution” for the firm’s customers. The person who holds the role will also work with internal ad sales, product, and marketing teams and serve as an “internal champion for free-to-air and advertising funded content.”
Amazon does not presently have free-to-air channels as part of its UK service, but it is preparing to offer free sports content, including Premier League matches.
For now, however, the UK Prime Video selection is limited to Amazon original content, along with TV shows and films it picks up in third-party licensing deals. They also offer live-streamed broadcast channels like Starz, Showtime, and HBO, but users have to pay extra to get these premium channels.
Offerings boost could set the stage for ads
Free-to-air offerings would increase the content available to Prime members significantly, and it could attract a large number of new subscribers eager to join the growing ranks of cord-cutters who have replaced traditional services entirely with online ones rather than simply supplementing their core services from a different provider with Amazon’s offerings. This could boost their advertising prospects dramatically.
Amazon doesn’t currently sell advertisements on its live-streamed channels, but some of them run their own ads. If they add a wider range of channels such as sports and free-to-air, creating their own TV-based ad network seems like the next logical step.
So far, Amazon has been venturing rather slowly into the ads business. They ran ads during NFL broadcasts in the U.S., but advertisers reportedly paid as much as $1 million less than the firm had hoped to attract. Last year, they earned $4 billion in ad revenues from services like Fire TV landing page banners, Kindle display units, and native ads on third-party sites. This year, their ad business is expected to earn $9.5 billion.