Posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:13 PM
Amazon may be adding a new streaming service to its portfolio.
The company currently includes streaming movies and TV episodes as part of the Amazon Instant Video features for subscribers to its Prime service. But this new free ad-supported service, which is in the works according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, would let non-Prime members watch licensed programs and Amazon original video series such as Alpha House. Music videos could also be part of the ad-supported service, the report said.
The WSJ report comes as Amazon prepares to host a press event in New York City next Wednesday for "an update on our video business." Amazon's long-rumored set-top box could be part of the event, which is being hosted by Amazon vice president Peter Larsen. There's no word on whether CEO Jeff Bezos will be in attendance.
Alpha House was one of several original series green-lighted by Amazon Studios last year, to keep pace in the race to create original programming as is competitor Netflix, which has series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black in its corner. Amazon recently hiked the price of its Amazon Prime service, which includes streaming content with two-day delivery of merchandise ordered on Amazon.com, to $99 annually from $79.
Amazon might be considering a free streaming feature in its new device, says Phil Swann of TVPredictions.com. But it must tread carefully because if it cheapens the video features of Amazon Prime "it would risk losing Prime customers. After all, it just raised the price."