Amazon has quashed reports that they are actively considering a free, ad-supported streaming media service that would allow people to watch video and music video content without an Amazon Prime subscription.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal cited people close with the company who said that Amazon was considering an ad-supported streaming video and music video service–one that would be free of subscription costs to customers. Of course, this is a vastly different approach than how Amazon currently distributes streaming video, which is part of their Amazon Prime membership service. The WSJ report also suggested that the new ad-supported free service could launch in the next few months and would feature both original Amazon Studios content and third-party content.
Now, Amazon is flatly denying the whole thing.
“We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming-media service,” an Amazon spokesperson told Variety.
If Amazon were to go that route, it would definitely influence people's opinions on the value of buying Amazon Prime, which was just given a significant price hike. Amazon Prime Instant Video is one of the three major draws of Amazon Prime (alongside free two-day shipping and the Kindle lending library), so being able to streaming Amazon videos for free (with ads, of course) would change the game.
But according to Amazon, it's not happening.
Amazon is expected, however, to launch a new streaming device next week. The company just sent out press invites to a launch event, which they describe as an "update on our video business." It's widely suspected that Amazon will unveil their long-awaited video streaming device on April 2nd, which will come in the form of a dongle (like Google's Chromecast).
Who knows–Amazon could have a surprise or two up their sleeve come next week.
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