Amazon is reportedly developing a free, ad-supported video streaming service

Amazon sign on storefront

According to AdAge, Amazon may be making an ad-driven "complement" to its Prime Video streaming service. And as a business that's growing to serve more worldwide (and cost-conscious) markets like India, it makes sense to explore ways to serve up streaming media without a subscription fee.

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. That would likely be in addition to Amazon's own in-house content that includes hits such as The Man in the High Castle and Transparent. 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.

If the company pulls off the move, the strategy would theoretically make Amazon's video service available to everybody, whether they pay for it or not.

Things are different this time around, however.

Amazon expects more kids programming and lifestyle programming would fill out the free streaming programming, which would be a draw for people seeking that type of programming.

"Amazon is talking about giving content creators their own channels, and sharing ad revenue in exchange for a set number of hours of content each week", says one of the executives, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a project that Amazon has not announced. In the past, the company has experimented with commercials on the platform to a very limited extent, such as placing ads inside National Football League games. This could be the first time marketers could push ads to Prime Video's estimated 50 million subscribers. According to AdAge, even Apple has outbid Netflix for a new series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. If true, it would be interesting to see how this works for the company.

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