Amazon has had a lot of success with Prime Video, the video streaming service that comes included with an Amazon Prime subscription. They have expanded the service from licensed video to original content, including big budget content like Jack Ryan, which released this weekend. The company may be looking to expand their video offering once again with a new service.
According to a report, this new service, allegedly named Free Dive, and would be coming from Amazon's subsidiary IMDb. The service, if real, would be an ad-supported, free streaming platform specifically for Fire TVs. This approach would be similar to how Roku's homespun Roku Channel got its start: exclusive to the platform and ad-supported.
Unlike Prime Video, which thrives on its original content, Free Dive is reported to be focused mostly on licensed content. This is a smart and safe way to launch a new service of this type, as it reduces the cost and liability should the service fail. Since the service is Amazon-owned, they might be able to use the licensing they already have for Prime Video and apply those deals to Free Dive.
Ad-supported platforms have had mixed reactions over the years. Hulu originally launched as a freely available, ad-supported platform. They eventually added a monthly fee as the lineup of content expanded, leaving only the most recent content available for free. Ultimately, they removed free content, shifting the responsibility to Yahoo. Sony's Crackle has always been a freely available, ad-supported platform that, outside of The Interview in 2014, most people have never interacted with.
On the other hand, Roku's Roku Channel has been a major success for the company. In fact, it has been popular enough that it has gone from a company product exclusive to being available on the without any Roku hardware. With Roku Channel being the closest analogous offering to Free Dive, there is some hope that this new offering could be a success.