Amazon didn't take much time to deny the Ad Age report and it has said that the company has no plans to create a free, ad-supported version of Prime Video.
A new report claims that Amazon is in fact developing a free ad-supported version of Amazon Prime Video. A free offering would enable Amazon to continue to hawk its line of Fire-branded connected-TV devices and Alexa voice-recognition products.
But now may be the time for Amazon to delve back into this space, given the rise of live TV streaming services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and Hulu Live TV, for example.
In addition to licensing content form big name studios, the company is considering "giving content creators their own channels", according to one executive, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a project that Amazon has not announced.
If Amazon were to offer free streaming TV and movies, it could attract a wide audience that Amazon could then attempt to upsell by encouraging them to join Amazon Prime - one of the benefits being, of course, that they could ditch the ads when streaming favorite shows.
Need cord cutting tech support? The idea of using ads during streaming content would be very similar to how, well, using ads during mainstream broadcast television works-but considering Amazon's got so much data on its customers, it may be able to target these ads much more hyper-specifically than a terrestrial television network is able to. In the past, this meant paying $99 for a annual subscription, but now Amazon has a $10.99/month option for those who don't want to pay all at once, as well as a Prime Video subscription that is $8.99/month.
Amazon would not be the first service to do this. As of this July, Amazon is believed to have 85 million customers signed up for its Prime service in the U.S.; numbers from June indicate that Netflix has about 50 million subscribers there, while cable companies count about 48.6 million subscribers nationwide in total.