Reports of a free, ad-supported Amazon video service resurface

Amazon sign on storefront

Despite showcasing its fair share of acclaimed shows, Amazon continues to lag behind Netflix in the war for streaming domination.

So how do you compete with the biggest name in streaming and stand out in an increasingly crowded landscape? The company was to launch it as an ad-supported service.

Now, CNET is speculating that instead of offering a version of Prime Video for free, Amazon might be building a totally different free and ad-supported video-streaming service. The new report doesn't contradict this.

Unlike Prime Video which is funded by subscribers as part of Amazon's overall Prime package, this offering would be paid for by advertising dollars.

For the full details, you should probably read AdAge's coverage, but the short version is that they believe Amazon is working on what they call a "compliment" to the existing video streaming service. This service will be free to use and will show advertisements to the users for monetisation.

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An unnamed executive told AdAge that "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".

A free streaming serve would undoubtedly appeal to people who complain about having to pay a monthly fee for services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now.

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. What would content creators get from this deal? In the past, this meant paying $99 for a annual subscription, but now Amazon has a $10.99/month option for those who don't want to pay all at once, as well as a Prime Video subscription that is $8.99/month.

This is not the first time Amazon has been reported to have something like this in development, however. As of this July, Amazon is believed to have 85 million customers signed up for its Prime service in the USA; numbers from June indicate that Netflix has about 50 million subscribers there, while cable companies count about 48.6 million subscribers nationwide in total.

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