Amazon’s Ad-Free TV Series

Amazon has started to create “free” tv shows. The only catch is that there are ads every 90 seconds! The Fashion Fund is the first show that Amazon has picked up to start its ad-based model, that originated on, and is now on its third season. It is also possible Amazon is launching this new model to attract more subscription based users for “Amazon Prime” that gives users ad-free access to a number of movies, books and music while giving unlimited 2 day free shipping on all your purchases.

This could be seen as an example of how Amazon is incorporating Karl Marx’s idea of absolute and relative surplus value into their model. Absolute surplus, being the extension of work time by each worker, is obtained from the implementation of ads every 90 seconds. For a 40 minute length show this would correlate to about 26 ads. Relative surplus value is obtained by increasing the efficiency. This is done by producing a show that is inherently about brands and products. The Fashion Fund is about 10 up and coming designers competing to win prize money, which is co-sponsered by Condé Nast’s Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers. It is also judged by three of “fashions elites” that work for popular fashion brands. Therefore, users who are watching the show that are interested in fashion are being ad-targetted by Vogue and companies were the judges work, on top of all the branded cloths that the contestants are using to compete.

I’m not sure if users will get frustrated with the high density of ads and constant interruption throughout the show but am interested to find out how successful the venture is. The article can be found here:


2 thoughts on “Amazon’s Ad-Free TV Series

  1. I think a big part of the success/failure of this will depend on the content of the ads (ie how relevent they are to the target audience). As you mention, the show itself is a basically a big ad for certain elements of the fashion industry, so throwing a bunch of “actual” ads into the mix shouldn’t disrupt the experience too much. The model seems to be similar to that of many fashion magazines, which are more ads than content (which are also ads of a sort).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that this is a great post and Amazon shows concepts from our class such as the audience as a commodity. Advertising companies are paying Amazon to be able to post their advertisements and we as the audience are getting nothing from it, other than the “free” show. Amazon is very clever because many people will be thinking, “this is awesome I get a FREE show”. Yes, it is “free” but at the cost of being bombarded with advertisements every 90 seconds. Personally, I don’t think I would enjoy watching a TV show with advertisements every 90 seconds and I would most likely become frustrated. Maybe some people will find it worth it to get the free show despite the constant advertisements. I am interested to know more about this topic and will definitely be doing some more research on it. Great example!

    Liked by 1 person

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