After getting a taste of ad-supported television with this fall's live streams of Thursday Night Football, complete with ad breaks, Amazon is reportedly taking a serious look at a more comprehensive "freemium" version of its Prime service.
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According to sources who spoke with AdAge Amazon is in talks with TV networks, movie studios, and other media companies about rights for a new free streaming service. Amazon may also give content creators their own channels. It sounds like the new service could be a separate entity from Amazon's current Prime Video service, rather than simply the same service with commercial interruptions. Even so, an ad-driven service would probably have a huge audience and spur further cord-cutting.
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As for advertisers, there's one overwhelming reason to get on Prime Video: Its viewers aren't just on Amazon to watch TV. While these issues, coupled with a washout at September's Prime Time Emmys, where streaming rival Hulu took home the best drama trophy for The Handmaid's Tale, leave Amazon in need of a creative turnaround, the company's long-term strategic compass points straight at Hollywood.
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"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, via Ad Age. Amazon is also supposedly proposing sharing audience data to clients, allowing them to fully understand the demographics they are advertising to. This could be the first time marketers could push ads to Prime Video's estimated 50 million subscribers. Voddler has previously attempted a similar service, making all of its premium content available for free, although it soon switched tactics by only making a portion of its content available to non-paying customers. If true, it would be interesting to see how this works for the company.