Amazon is reportedly expected to launch a free, advertising-supported TV service similar to YouTube or Hulu sometime in the near future. The new service represents a dramatic shakeup for the company, which will be ditching its previous video strategy to make way for its new offerings.
The Wall Street Journal reported the development in Amazon’s video plan Thursday citing anonymous sources, adding weight to rumors reported by Ad Age last month. Amazon’s new service will likely include the company’s original series as well as licensed programming. Amazon also plans to offer free music videos that will carry ads to people who visit the site.
Amazon has spent $1 billion acquiring content and producing original programming for its streaming service. However, it hasn’t yet caught up with competitors like Netflix. Amazon’s current advantage over Netflix, however, is that an Amazon Prime membership brings access to the company’s original video content as well as benefits across the site, such as free high-speed shipping.
Amazon is also expected to release a streaming video set-top box that can compete with devices like the Roku, Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV at a media event next week.