Amazon may be looking at a way to offer more content by giving consumers a subscription-free video platform. The New York Post reported the e-commerce giant could launch an ad-supported streaming service sometime in 2015.
Previously, Amazon denied a claim made by the Wall Street Journal that the online site would offer a free, ad-supported streaming service. At that time, an Amazon spokesperson told AdAge, “We have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”
But now, Amazon’s tone has changed, if only slightly. In an email to TechCrunch, Spokeswoman Sally Fouts said that “we currently offer the first episode of some television shows free with ads through our First Episode Free feature on Amazon Instant Video, and there are display ads on some short videos such as movie and game trailers. We’re often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers, but we have not announced any plans to offer an ad-supported video streaming service.”
Judging by that statement, Amazon’s status has now moved from “no plans” to “haven’t announced any plans.” This could mean Amazon is now working on a free, ad-supported video streaming service, if not at least considering it.
If the e-commerce retail giant does introduce their streaming service, Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch thinks it could be a move to hook more viewers for the company’s $99-a-year Amazon Prime service, which includes unlimited, ad-less Amazon Instant Video streaming. The company would also have the benefit of snagging the attention of viewers who don’t mind ads and the ones who are willing to pay to remove them, essentially mixing the Hulu and Netflix models.
Lunden also thinks the free, ad-supported service would help boost Amazon’s revenue. She argues the streaming service would be another way for Amazon to break into more global video advertising options, since the company currently only offers one video format to advertisers, and these formats are only displayed on Amazon’s subsidiary sites (like Imdb.com) in Canada and the U.S.
The free, ad-supported streaming video service could be a big boost for Amazon and help establish it as a larger player in the online video world. However, until an official announcement arrives from the company, we’ll just have to wait and see.