Watching Amazon's original shows like Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle typically requires a subscription to Amazon Prime, but as of today, there's an exception to that rule. As Recode notes, the company is letting anyone watch season three of The Fashion Fund — so long as they're willing to put up with ads. Granted, this isn't the type of show that's going to garner critical acclaim or take home Golden Globes; it's a reality series that follows fashion designers through a four-month competition, with Vogue's $400,000 Fashion Fund as the grand prize. The first two seasons aired on Ovation, and Amazon plans to release a new episode each Thursday
But it's the model that's interesting here more than the content itself; an Amazon spokesperson told Recode that shaking up its usual, subscription-required approach made sense in this case. "We’re always experimenting on behalf of our customers, including experimenting with ads," the spokesperson said. "For this Fashion Fund project, we found it to be a very effective way to fund its production. The show has strong interest from advertisers."
It's also an effective way of selling clothing, which Amazon has every interest in — both for items featured in the show and its own, new fashion line. The company isn't saying whether this is a one-off or if it'll follow the same format for other shows in the future. But it's certainly a great way of upping viewing numbers for those people who haven't (yet) been swayed to pay for Prime.