WSJ: Amazon plans free, ad-supported streaming video service

amazon event invite

Amazon earlier today sent out invites to an April media event that retailer likely will use to introduce a new media streaming device. Details on the media device are sparse, but a new Wall Street Journal report sheds some light on the video service that will accompany the hardware.

According to the WSJ, Amazon plans to launch a free video streaming service for those who subscribe to the company’s Prime service. The service will include original programming from Amazon as well as licensed content. It will be ad-supported.

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.

Amazon also plans to introduce a music video streaming service that will integrate into the music section of its retail website. For example, customers browsing through an artist’s collection of songs would be able to click on a link to watch the accompanying music videos.

These new services are part of a broader push by Amazon to diverse it business by moving away from its core retail sales and towards a new role as a content provider. Analysis by Cantor FiAmazon suggests Amazon invested about $1 billion to acquire content and produce original programming in 2013.

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