YouTube and Netflix, Watch Your Back
Amazon plans to stream video content for free and rise among the ranks of multimedia power players, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The project would include original series like Betas as well as licensed programming, which could be tied to Amazon’s retail website (shoppers looking for Bruce Springsteen CDs might get to see Born in the USA, say). The service would run on ad dollars and try to make more by inviting people to pay $99 annually for Prime, which currently offers unlimited video streaming.
Other evidence something’s up: Amazon paid about $1 billion last year for content and original programming, and plans to launch something next week—likely the Roku-like box it’s been building since 2012, GigaOm reports. The device will offer Prime video along with apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, and possibly games (Amazon has also been designing a wireless game controller, after all). The gizmo may even include free streaming, but if that reduces the value of Amazon Prime, “it would risk losing Prime customers,” a TV analyst tells USA Today. “After all, it just raised the price.”