Reports of a free, ad-supported Amazon video service resurface

Andrew Cummings
November 14, 2017

Amazon is looking to launch another streaming video service, one that would be free and ad-supported, and is talking with TV networks, movie studios and other media companies about programming, Adage reported, citing sources familiar with the plans. While these issues, coupled with a washout at September's Prime Time Emmys, where streaming rival Hulu took home the best drama trophy for The Handmaid's Tale, leave Amazon in need of a creative turnaround, the company's long-term strategic compass points straight at Hollywood. But to be fair, everyone continues to lag behind Netflix in that particular race. The new report doesn't contradict this. While Roku and Vudu offer some streaming content for free, Amazon diving into this particular realm feels like a big move for the company, which has often struggled to compete with the likes of Netflix when it comes to capturing the attention of streamers.

Prime Video is bundled with Amazon's premium shipping service in a number of countries, including the United States, offering customers instant access to a slew of syndicated movies and TV shows, as well as original content.

For the full details, you should probably read AdAge's coverage, but the short version is that they believe Amazon is working on what they call a "compliment" to the existing video streaming service. Welcome to 2017, where everyone wants everything to be free.

As it now exists, Amazon's video service called Prime Video requires subscribers to have a Prime membership.

This sounds like an unnecessary step for Amazon.

As for advertisers, there's one overwhelming reason to get on Prime Video: Its viewers aren't just on Amazon to watch TV. As of this July, Amazon is believed to have 85 million customers signed up for its Prime service in the United States; numbers from June indicate that Netflix has about 50 million subscribers there, while cable companies count about 48.6 million subscribers nationwide in total.

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