Alongside the growing amount of original content, signing up for one or more streaming video subscription services such as Netflix or Prime Video comes with the added bonus of no ads. However, Amazon is apparently working on a completely free version of its Prime Video service, but it will be full of ads.
According to AdAge, Amazon is currently in talks with movie studios, media companies, and TV networks to plan content for a free video streaming service. Where as Prime subscribers pay $99 a year and gain access to Prime Video without adverts, this service wouldn't cost consumers a dime. In return for that free viewing experience, Amazon would surround content with advertising to cover the costs of the service.
Earlier this year, the number of Amazon prime subscribers went past 80 million, but that still leaves tens of million more who don't or even won't pay for access to streamed content. A free service may entice them to try Amazon's platform, at which point Amazon could regularly try and upsell them to a Prime subscription as well as introducing all the other perks paying for Prime offers. And don't forget, free viewers will likely still need to buy a Amazon Fire TV device to watch.
If this free service sounds like a return to regular ad-funded TV, think again. Amazon is apparently planning a much more lucrative deal to content owners. For example, it has been suggested Amazon will share advertising revenue with content creators by allowing them to setup their own channels and provide a set number of hours of content each week. We could effectively have the equivalent of YouTube, only each channel would be from an approved and established movie studio, TV network, or media company.
As to what content we should expect to see on a free Prime Video service, expect a little of everything from children's programming, travel, and cooking, to classic TV shows and the thousands of old movies the studios have to offer.
For now, Amazon is choosing not to comment and the focus remains on Prime subscriptions. If a free service does appear, do you think it will use the Prime Video name or some alternate and new branding?