There’s pretty much nothing that Amazon doesn’t sell, including television shows through its popular Prime Video service. The key word here is “sell”, so the rumour that Amazon is planning on launching a free video streaming service is certainly an interesting change of direction.
According to The Information, plans are afoot for an ad-supported TV service to launch on Fire TV devices. Dubbed Free Dive, the service isn’t intended to be part of Prime Video and will actually be a completely different platform with its own very different content library made up of older TV shows and films.
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Free Dive isn’t being developed directly by Amazon, but by the Amazon-owned IMDb. That makes sense, as there are already some ad-supported shows available to watch on IMDb, and expanding the experiment to the tens of millions of Fire TV devices out there seems like a fairly smart move.
All the same, this does feel a different way for Amazon to make money. It’s not that Amazon doesn’t have a powerful advertising presence, it’s more that said presence is generally designed to point people back to Amazon so that they buy more products. Making money directly off the advertising has not ever really been a serious source of income for the company.
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Even Prime Video isn’t about advertising – it’s about selling Prime subscriptions which drive more Amazon orders. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has been quite candid about that, saying in an interview that “when we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.” The same can also be said about Echo smart speakers and Kindle ebook readers.
Of course, making money through ads and driving people back to Amazon aren’t mutually exclusive, and it’s possible that the Free Dive business model can include plenty of adverts for Amazon’s core business as part of the mix. Just don’t expect to see many Netflix or Now TV ads creeping in.
Does a free streaming TV service excite you, or are you happy with your paid options? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews