Amazon to Launch Free Streaming Service (Report)
Amazon is working on a free streaming media service as an alternative to its Prime Instant Video subscription, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The new service would be ad-supported -- a departure from Amazon's current $99 Prime subscription fee -- and would likely include access to Amazon's original series and some of its library of licensed television series and films.
Amazon, helmed by CEO Jeff Bezos, is also planning on offering up free streaming music videos to its audience. The service is expected to launch in coming months, the Journal stated.
Late Thursday, Amazon denied that it was prepping a launch of a free streaming service.
"We have a video advertising business that currently offers programs like First Episode Free and ads associated with movie and game trailers, and we’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service," an Amazon statement read.
Meanwhile, Amazon has invited media to attend an event in New York on April 2 where it is expected to announce plans for a streaming-video device similar to an Apple TV or Roku. Prime Instant Video is already available through devices such as Roku. An Amazon product would also provide access to that content and apps for other services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Amazon introduced Instant Video in 2011 as part of the slate of perks provided to Prime subscribers. The company recently upped the price of Prime to $99 a year from its original $79 annual fee.
Last year Amazon added to its Instant Video library with its first original series, Alpha House and Betas. The company recently streamed its second batch of pilots for free -- including a comedy Transparent from Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under) and supernatural drama The After from Chris Carter (The X Files) -- and is expected to announce its series pickups soon.
According to the report, Amazon is in talks to renew Betas as part of its free streaming service.