UPDATED 10:17 EST / MARCH 28 2014

Amazon denies plans for ad-supported streaming service

Amazon-logoEarlier this year, it was reported that Amazon was in talks with big entertainment companies to license their TV channels for a possible online pay-TV service. This would allow Amazon to offer more content to its Prime subscribers, who currently have access to on-demand programming. If the deal pushes forward, Amazon’s content would include many of the same TV channels currently offered by cable or satellite TV providers.

Though this would appeal to Prime subscribers, giving them the option to ditch their current cable or satellite providers (especially since the subscription fee was recently increased from $79 to $99 a year), Amazon denied the report from the Wall Street Journal.

“We continue to build selection for Prime Instant Video and create original shows at Amazon Studios, but we are not planning to license television channels or offer a pay-TV service,” Amazon said.

Another Prime-related rumor riding the interwebs is that Amazon’s working on a music streaming service.  The retailer is said to be engaged in talks with music labels to acquire licensing for digital music, and is apparently negotiating a substantial discount off the licensing fees, similar to the deals Spotify, Rhapsody, and Beats have with record labels. But the report also stated that record labels aren’t about to give in to Amazon’s demands so easily. However, if it does get its way, Amazon would likely incorporate the new music streaming service into Amazon Prime, expanding the type of media available for subscribers.

Yet Amazon may have been telling the truth when it denied that it was working on a pay-TV service. The WSJ reported earlier this week that it’s plotting an advertising-supported streaming television and music-video service. If true, Amazon was telling the truth. It’s not working on a paid service, but an ad-supported one.

The report stated that the service will launch in the coming months and would offer both original and licensed content. The ad-supported streaming service will not be incorporated into Amazon Prime, the sources stated.

Amazon has invited the media to an event next Thursday where it’s expected to launch a streaming device that would compete against Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, to encourage more people to watch its content. Currently, Prime subscribers can only watch content from their Roku, Xbox, and Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon hopes that by launching its own media streaming device, more consumers will subscribe to Amazon Prime.

But this is only a rumor – alternatively, the device could be the gaming console Amazon’s also believed to have in the pipeline.  Back in February, Amazon acquired Double Helix Games, fueling rumors it’s designing an Android-based gaming machine. Amazon’s console could also double as a streaming device much like the Xbox, with the company said to be looking for big name game makers to bring top titles to the platform.

Unfortunately for gaming fans, Amazon has once again denied the WSJ report, reverberating its previous comment stating that “We’re often experimenting with new things, but we have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”

We’ll just have to wait for Amazon’s revelation next week to find out if consumers will be presented with a media streaming device, an Android-based gaming console with media streaming capabilities, a pay or ad-supported service, or something else entirely (or nothing at all).

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