Currently, Amazon's catalog of streaming video is only available to members of Amazon Prime, a service which typically costs $99 a year, with a reduced fee of $49 a year being available for college students.
Amazon is reportedly considering rolling out a free version of its Prime Video streaming service that will be supported by advertising. That would make its offering the Spotify of the video streaming industry, with both a premium and free offering.
Sources familiar with Amazon's plans tell Ad Age that the e-commerce giant is holding talks with movie studios, TV networks and other media companies with regard to supplying programming for the service. Amazon may also give content creators their own channels. There is likely to be one stark difference between the two, however. 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. With all of this new competition hustling about, Amazon is trying to attract as big of a share of the viewing audience as possible, and pivoting toward a free ad-supported platform might be just the way to do it. Amazon has experimented with advertisements for streaming video before. Amazon is expected to share audience information and ad revenue to get the project off the ground initially. It has dabbled in commercials on Prime to a very limited degree, putting ads inside National Football League games this season and offering smaller opportunities for brand integrations. This could be the first time marketers could push ads to Prime Video's estimated 50 million subscribers. According to some, that statement doesn't actually refute AdAge's claims, since they believe it will be a "compliment" to Prime Video. 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.