Gears & Gadgets

Amazon may make a free, ad-supported streaming service for Fire TVs

Amazon's Fire TV Cube
Enlarge / The Fire TV Cube itself is a small, glossy cube with IR emitters built into its sides.

Amazon may be gearing up to launch a new video-streaming service, but one that differs greatly from Prime Video. According to a report by The Information, the online retailer’s subsidiary IMDb is developing an ad-supported streaming service that would be available to all Fire TV device users.

Free Dive is the purported name of the service, and it’s said to be similar to The Roku Channel on Roku streaming devices. Roku’s service offers a bunch of licensed shows, movies, and other video content for free to Roku device users, but viewers have to watch advertisements peppered throughout that content. Roku recently expanded The Roku Channel to Web users in the US as well, so those who do not have a Roku streaming device can also watch that content for free.

The Information’s report estimates that Amazon could reach the 48 million Fire TV users with this ad-supported service. That’s a lot of potential eyeballs, many of which will be amenable to sitting through a few advertisements to watch free movies and shows.

Free Dive could supplement Amazon Prime Video for those customers. The company’s original streaming service comes at a monthly cost (or as part of Prime’s annual membership) but provides ad-free viewing of licensed content and original shows and movies created by Amazon. The company is reportedly looking to fill Free Dive with mostly licensed content, and other reports have detailed Amazon’s recent meetings with movie studios including Sony and Paramount.

Amazon has been diligently going after more TV and video advertising as of late. The company has been seeking more advertising for its live sports broadcasts, including soccer and NFL games. It recently introduced ad-supported content to IMDb and removed ad-free viewing from Twitch Prime members’ subscriptions (that feature will only be available to Twitch Turbo members as of September 2018). As Amazon dives deeper into the entertainment space (and as competition from Roku, Apple, Walmart, and the like increases), the online giant wants to stake its claim in video advertising so it can bring in as much money as possible from all of its various services.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Tech – Ars Technica

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