Amazon may be eyeing up a free, ad-supported video service to complement its Amazon Prime Video platform.
The online giant is throwing its weight – and its money – behind its online video arm, most recently inking a colossal deal for the rights to a Lord of the Rings prequel series, as it proves it has the deep pockets required to make a dent in its vast competition. But while Amazon is increasingly pushing for its Prime Video subscription service to become bigger and more mainstream, some insiders say that Amazon is also taking a leaf from YouTube’s book to extend its reach.
Sources told Ad Aage that Amazon is planning to develop a free streaming service as complement to Prime Video. The service would be ad-supported, allowing creators to earn some revenue from their free content. While that might not sound different to YouTube and Facebook, Ad Age says that Amazon would also look to share data as well as revenue in exchange for a minimum content guarantee.
“Amazon is talking about giving content creators their own channels, and sharing ad revenue in exchange for a set number of hours of content each week,” an anonymous executive reportedly told the site.
Content would not just be new, but also older programmes from the back catalogues of partners, placing the service alongside Vudu or Roku, which has recently begun to offer free content on its platform. Content such as kids’ shows, travel or other lifestyle titles would be on Amazon’s wishlist.
Speaking to Engadget, Amazon said it has “no plans to create a free, ad-supported version of Prime Video”. However, despite the headlines circling the web, if Amazon is planning a freemium companion service to Prime Video, rather than a lite equivalent, that’s not strictly speaking a denial.