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Amazon Looking to Hire AVOD, FAST Execs; Is Ad-Supported Prime Video on the Way?

David Satin

If you’ve got knowledge and experience with free ad-supported streaming (FAST) services, you may want to send your résumé to Amazon. The tech and e-commerce giant is looking to add to its ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) team, including a head of first-party and exclusive FAST channels.

According to reporting from Television Business International, that executive will lead creative strategy, development, licensing, and programming for Amazon Studios’ first-party and exclusive channels business and will be in charge of helping to define and execute the content strategy for TV and movie content on these channels.

Amazon is also looking for a lead programming exec for the same team, who will oversee the creative strategy, including category and title selection, content oversight, and deal-making for original and licensed series and movies on its global first-party and exclusive FAST channels.

The corporate expansions for Amazon come at a time when it has been expanding content on its FAST service Freevee. The channel has added a ton of titles in the last few months, from financial guru Suze Orman to the chills and thrills of Midnight Pulp. Freevee — formerly IMDB TV has also continued its European rollout this year, expanding into the UK and Germany.

The additions to its executive ranks may simply signal that Amazon is looking to continue its expansion of Freevee. After all, the channel brings eyes (and ad dollars) to Amazon, which may lead viewers to shop while streaming shows like “Bosch” for free. But, the bolstering of its AVOD tier may have bigger implications for Amazon.

The additions could also mean that Amazon is looking to introduce an ad-supported tier of Prime Video. There has been no such announcement along those lines from Amazon, but the expansion of its AVOD team is enough to raise a few eyebrows. Both Disney+ and Netflix are preparing to launch ad-supported tiers of their streaming services, and competitors will be watching closely to see if they drive new subscriptions.

A cheaper Prime Video tier could pay off big for Amazon. Disney and Netflix expect to see over $1 billion in new revenue from their ad-supported tiers, and Prime Video is just starting to position itself as a true competitor to those services. Its newest original show “Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Powerdrew a record number of viewers for Amazon, and its first week of streaming-exclusive “Thursday Night Football” garnered a record number of Prime signups for the company, according to its internal numbers.

Amazon’s new hiring spree may not have anything to do with an ad-supported tier of Prime Video, but the company is almost certainly watching Disney and Netflix closely. If those companies are successful with the launches of their ad-supported services, Amazon may not be far behind.

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