updated 01:20 pm EDT, Wed May 28, 2008
Amazon VOD and Kindle
Amazon is about to launch an on-demand video service, the company's chief Jeff Bezos said today at the Wall Street Journal's D Conference. Expanding on the company's existing Unbox download feature, the retailer will launch a paid streaming service "in the next few weeks," according to the executive. No details beyond this early news are available, though the move would directly compete with a similar option from Netflix, whose Watch Instantly feature is largely web-based and requires a regular Netflix subscription of $9 or more.
The venture should strengthen Amazon's fledgling direct-download video features, which are often considered significant but secondary competitors to iTunes and the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Bezos doesn't, however, expect offerings for either music or video to seriously damage Apple in the near term. Amazon MP3 benefits from labels' desires to undermine iTunes' dominance of the online market but for now considers enhanced music label support a logical move rather than an edge which will unseat Apple from the top spot.
"If I were a content owner, I would want to make sure that my content was distributable in as many ways as possible," he says.
Additionally, Bezos also expects the Kindle e-book reader to expand beyond its current US-only strategy, noting that Amazon will have to talk to cellular providers in other countries to provide the device with its distinctive free 3G Internet access for downloading books. A direct sequel, however, is not expected soon despite a $40 price cut. The drop is only to reflect that the Kindle is readily available in stock, the Amazon founder claims. [image courtesy WSJ and Asa Mathat]