Amazon debuted season three of “The Fashion Fund” slated for a 10-episode run that introduces some new wrinkles to the retailer’s on-line streaming offerings. To watch the series, viewers do not need to be an Amazon Prime member, but they do need to sit through the advertising that is included in each episode. This is quite different from Amazon’s normal ad-free videos available through Prime and has some wondering what Amazon may be planning.
Amazon could be looking at a couple different scenarios if this latest release is a sign of more to come. Amazon could be trying to figure out a way to tap into viewers who are not willing to pay the Amazon Prime fee of $99 per year nor pay to buy or rent a digital title. By supporting the shows through advertising, Amazon may be able to pull in those viewers and still make some money in the process. Amazon does offer some shows already that include advertising and thus, no fee is charged. However, all of those have been from partners whereas “The Fashion Fund” is an original series for Amazon.
Another possibility is that Amazon is hoping to expand their content production and realize they need to tap into viewers outside of the Prime walled garden to be successful. Finding more viewers, even if coming from outside of Prime, could be important for the retailer if it has goods in the catalog that are related, liking clothing and fashion items might sell better after a showing of “The Fashion Fund.”
An Amazon spokesperson did not provide any specifics about the goals of this latest experiment. She did note the company is “always experimenting on behalf of our customers” and in this case the ad-supported path represented an “effective way to fund its production.” The spokesperson did stress that Amazon Prime Video will continue to be an ad-free service.