Amazon can often tout numbers suggesting that they have millions of subscribers to their video service, but these numbers are muddied by the fact that everyone who signs up for Amazon Prime (2-day delivery on nearly everything) comes with free access to the video catalog.
Amazon is developing a free and ad-supported streaming video service, according to a new report out now from AdAge, citing people familiar with the plans. And as a business that's growing to serve more worldwide (and cost-conscious) markets like India, it makes sense to explore ways to serve up streaming media without a subscription fee. This time around, sources say Amazon has been engaging in talks with both movie studios and TV production companies over getting content for the service. Combine this with the ability to rent new releases for a few bucks and the various channels available through Amazon and you're looking at a strong service that offers a lot more variety than Netflix if you choose to take advantage of it. However, the big "catch" is that it will be ad-supported. That would likely be in addition to Amazon's own in-house content that includes hits such as The Man in the High Castle and Transparent.
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Things are different this time around, however.
Despite showcasing its fair share of acclaimed shows, Amazon continues to lag behind Netflix in the war for streaming domination. One source even said ad revenue could be shared in exchange for a set number of hours of content each week. Amazon is also supposedly proposing sharing audience data to clients, allowing them to fully understand the demographics they are advertising to. The company did put ads inside the National Football League games this season and it has also offered some opportunities for brand integrations, but that's it. The company's catalogue included content from the likes of Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, and Disney, however; proving that content creators are interested in ad-supported models.