Earlier this week, the same banner ad found at the top of the Fire TV Stick home screen began appearing in the same previously empty spot on the Fire TV home screen. It seems like Amazon has flipped a switch this week that activated the banner. In addition to this banner, Amazon seems to be experimenting with additional advertising on the Fire TV platform. Several users have contacted me and gone to reddit to report that they’ve been seeing pre-roll video ads play before Prime videos on their Fire TV Sticks.
My testing shows the banner ad on the home screen was added to the Fire TV with the 126.96.36.199 software update but was left disabled. The Fire TV home screen receives its content remotely from Amazon servers. This allowed Amazon to enable the banner remotely without the need of an additional software update.
The pre-roll video ads are causing a much bigger uproar than the banner ad. Users are reporting a short video ad playing prior to some Prime videos. The ads display “Advertisement” in the lower left corner of the screen. What’s worse, these ads seem to be buggy and are leaving the “Advertisement” text on the screen during the entire Prime video. Stopping and restarting the video seems to be the only way to remove the intrusive text.
The buggy nature of these pre-roll ads makes me wonder if they are intentional. Amazon is reportedly working on a free ad-supported video service. These ads could be an unintentional result of Amazon testing such a service. It’s hard to believe that Amazon has decided Prime members who pay for access to the Prime video library should be subjected to pre-roll ads. All I’m saying is lets wait and see how this plays out before grabbing the pitchforks. Let us know in the comments if you’ve experienced these pre-roll ads.