Amazon Trying To Create Netflix Online Streaming Competitor

Categories: New TV Technology

Written By

August 31st, 2010

Amazon is looking to launch a service that would give paying subscribers unlimited access to some movies and television shows according to the Wall Street Journal.  According to the story Amazon would like to launch by the holidays.

It's hardly surprising, as Amazon's download service hasn't gotten much traction.  But notably Amazon already launched and then scuttled a DVD rental service aimed at competing with Netflix.

The Seattle retailer has in recent weeks and months proposed a Web-based subscription service to several major media companies, including General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc., among others, according to people with knowledge of the proposal.

[0831amazon] Associated Press

Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos

Amazon's new subscription service would be viewable on the Web, or through devices that play TV shows and movies Amazon already sells on an individual basis, according to some of the people briefed on the proposal. Those devices include some Internet-connected TVs and the Xbox 360 videogame console from Microsoft Corp. Amazon currently sells individual episodes of many TV shows often for $1.99 each.

In at least one version of the Seattle retailer's proposal, subscriptions could be bundled with its existing Amazon Prime service—immediately giving the service a big cache of built-in subscribers. Prime is a service that offers members free two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases for $79 a year.

Amazon has said it would like to launch its new video service in time for the holiday season, one person with knowledge of the proposal said, but it is unclear if any media company intends to participate. It is possible the subscription service, which it has pitched in multiple variations over the last year but appears to focus now on older, "catalogue" content, could be delayed or shelved if not enough companies sign on, that person and others said.

An Amazon spokesman said he could not "speculate about the future." A spokeswoman for NBC Universal declined to comment. Spokesmen for Viacom and Time Warner also declined to comment.

—Ethan Smith contributed to this article.Write to Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com and Geoffrey A. Fowler at geoffrey.fowler@wsj.com

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Companies within this Article

Microsoft Corp.(MSFT)

23.46 -0.18 4:01p.m.

Time Warner Inc.(TWX)

29.98 0.41 4:01p.m.

General Electric Co.(GE)

14.48 -0.04 4:01p.m.

Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN)

124.83 1.04 4:00p.m.

Viacom Inc. Cl B (VIAB)

31.42 0.02 4:03p.m.

Netflix Inc.(NFLX)

125.52 2.42 4:00p.m.

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