Amazon Could Be Joining the Ad-Supported Video Streaming Bandwagon

Amazon.com might be stepping into the ad-supported television and music-video streaming scene. Wall Street Journal reports that this information comes from people “close to the company,” who also said that the service will feature original and licensed content, and could launch in a few months. Amazon has allegedly outlined potential partners for this service, including the creators of “Betas”, a series that Amazon co-produced and offered to Amazon Prime subscribers last year.

A screencap of Amazon's Instant Video service page

The sources said that Amazon also plans to offer free music videos (with ads) to their retail website’s visitors. For example, searching for a specific artist’s album on Amazon could bring up an option to watch a music video by that artist.

WSJ says that this move could be part of Amazon’s attempt to “transform itself from a retailer into a force in multimedia.” Looking at Amazon’s current advertising and content personalization efforts, free, ad-supported, streaming video could potentially help the company reach a wider audience and earn more revenue through advertising.

If these reports are true, Amazon is a bit late to the party, with video streaming giants like YouTube and Netflix already hogging the spotlight. According to eMarketer, YouTube alone generated about $5.6 billion in advertising revenue last year, while Amazon’s current advertising efforts are expected to earn about $1 billion this year.

An Amazon spokeswoman, however, told WSJ that “We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”

What we do know for sure is that Amazon is holding a press conference in New York on April 2. What they will cover there isn’t confirmed either, but many have been speculating that Amazon will be releasing a streaming video device that will have features similar to existing set-top boxes from Hulu and Netflix.

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Elrica Gosiengfiao

Elrica Gosiengfiao

Born to a family of writers and bookworms, Elrica Gosiengfiao has always been a self-professed geek. She works as a marketing copywriter, but spends much of her free time traversing different worlds through books and games. El also has a background in visual arts and graphic design, and has a love affair with anything art nouveau.