Prime Video launches cheaper tier with ads in India – and the US and UK could be next

It’s happened, everyone. Shortly after rumors swirled that Amazon was set to launch a cheaper, ad-supported tier for its Prime Video streaming service, the company has done just that.

As first reported by Indian outlet Mint (via UK website Cord Busters), Prime Video Lite, an affordable and ad-based alternative to the streamer’s main subscription tier, has been announced by Amazon. According to Mint, Prime Video Lite costs ₹999 (around £10 / $12 / AU$17.80) for 12 months, making it ₹500 cheaper than the usual ₹1,499-per-year price Prime Video is available for in that country.

There is a caveat, though. Currently, Prime Video Lite is only available to Indian customers, and there’s no word on when it could (or will) make its way to the US, UK, and Australia. However, considering some of the world’s best streaming services, including Netflix, have rolled out their cheaper, ad-supported tiers globally in recent months, it’s seemingly only a matter of time before it’s introduced in other territories.

Prime Video is the latest streamer to get a cheaper, ad-supported tier. (Image credit: Amazon)

Individuals who sign up for a Prime Video Lite account will be able to stream unlimited movies and TV shows from the streaming giant’s back catalog. That includes the best Prime Video movies and best Prime Video shows around, plus any new Prime Video movies that have recently hit the service.

Like ad-supported subscriptions on Netflix and Max however, Prime Video Lite doesn’t support a number of key features. Per Mint’s report, users are limited to streaming on two devices at any given time. Subscribers will only be able to watch their favorite films and TV series in HD, too, not 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos. 

Streaming Prime Video through a web browser is also off-limits, meaning Prime Lite customers can only access the platform through the Prime Video app built into the best TVs and best streaming devices. Regular Amazon Prime users can stream on six devices simultaneously, in 4K, and without the prospect of dealing with ads.

Customers also get certain benefits through the Amazon Prime Lite service, including free shipping on orders from Amazon’s online store, as well as early access to Amazon Lightning Deals. However, users can’t make use of Prime’s same-day and one-day delivery (Prime Lite users will have to wait two days to receive their parcels), and can’t freely access Amazon Prime Music, Prime Gaming, or Prime Reading.

Primed for a worldwide release?

Amazon Prime Video menu showing horror movies and shows

Prime Video is home to a whole host of top-tier first- and third-party films and TV shows. (Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Ever since Netflix confirmed its plans to offer an affordable, ad-supported version to consumers, it’s been a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’ other streaming services would follow suit.

Max and Disney Plus (in the US), as well as Paramount Plus worldwide, have joined Netflix in introducing a cheaper, ad-based tier for those on a budget. As one of the more popular streamers around – and with a parent company that loves to make money – it was only a matter of time before Prime Video entered the fray, too.

So, will we see Prime Video Lite rolled out to other world regions in the coming months? In my view, it’s inevitable. Per TechCrunch, Amazon has been quietly testing its ad-based tier subscription in India since January 2023. This week (June 12 to 16), then, effectively marks the full rollout of Prime Video Lite in India.

With Prime Video Lite fully available in India, it won’t be long before Amazon decides to promote – and launch – it in the US, UK, and Australia. However, with Amazon Freevee – a totally free, ad-supported streaming service owned by the company – already available in the US and UK, Amazon doesn’t need to introduce Prime Video’s new, cheaper tier in some of its biggest markets. It could rechristen Freevee as Prime Video Lite. In doing so, though, Freevee will no longer be, well, free, which may result in a mass exodus of users who don’t want to pay for it.

It’ll be interesting, then, to see how Amazon approaches Prime Lite’s rollout in Western markets. Some will be easier to navigate than others and, if it doesn’t offer the right perks as part of its package for consumers – for instance, not offering same-day delivery or 4K support for Prime Video Lite – it might not be as successful a rollout as Amazon will hope it’ll be. 

I’ve reached out to Amazon to find out if Prime Lite is coming to the US, UK, and Australia anytime soon, and I’ll update this article if I hear back.

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