Report: Amazon's Planning a Free Streaming Service for Original Shows

By Leslie Horn on at

Amazon has its sights set on an ad-supported streaming media service for its Prime subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Per the report:

The new service, which could launch in the coming months, likely will feature original series and may include licensed programming, these people said. As part of the project, Amazon has held talks with the creators of "Betas," a series about a Silicon Valley startup that Amazon produced last year for Prime, these people said.

The service would mean that Amazon's original content would be seen by more eyes. One thing that's unclear, however, is how the ads would be delivered. The WSJ says content might appear on a special section on Amazon. Or think of the way Hulu does it—you'd possibly see one big long ad before you watch a show, or you'd watch shows like you do on a regular old TV, with ads in between to break things up. The service would also feature free music videos. Say you searched "Beyonce" on Amazon, then the video for the song Drunk in Love would subsequently appear.

If anything, the ad-supported service could be a way to entice people to upgrade to Prime in the first place. In fact, look to the precedent Amazon has set with its hardware. You can get a Kindle for cheaper if you get it with special offers, or ads, for example. Pay a little bit more, and the ads go bye bye. This streaming service sounds like a similar idea, applied to movies and TV shows. [WSJ]