Amazon added a streaming video service to its Amazon Prime feature in February of 2011, which would allow Prime customers access to thousands of movies and television shows that could be streamed on computers, media devices like Roku and Internet-connected television sets.
While the company originally claimed that the addition of streaming media content was for the purpose of bolstering what Amazon Prime had to offer, it seems that the company has decided to take on the likes of Netflix and Apple in the media streaming market.
The New York Post recently reported that Amazon is looking into creating a standalone subscription service. Currently, Amazon Prime customers pay $79 per year and enjoy free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase price, unlimited Prime instant streaming and one free book rental per month from Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. The company is “chewing over” the possibility of offering Prime instant streaming separate from the bundle.
When the service first started, it had about 5,000 movies and television shows available. Through the year, Amazon has added thousands of hours of television shows freom CBS, Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal.
According to the New York Post, Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer, said, “Amazon is aggressively pursuing the same content strategy as Netflix and is spending a lot upfront to try to secure exclusivity. They won’t always get it, but they need to differentiate themselves.”
Why would Amazon decide to beef up their instant streaming service? It is possible that the company is looking for ways to compete against Apple’s rumored future television set. It is also possible, however unlikely, that the Internet retail giant wants to collaborate with Apple to offer the subscription-based service through Apple TV.
Since The Kindle Fire is taking off so well, there is also a chance that Amazon is looking to offer exclusive streaming capability for its new tablet. By offering easy access to streaming content via the Kindle Fire and not the iPad, Amazon can capitalize on having something that Apple does not, mobile streaming of Prime instant.