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Amazon to Release FREE Netflix Competitor

Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite personal devices. (Photo Credit: Reed Saxon)

By  Drew Guarini Watch out, Netflix. Amazon is planning to launch a free, ad-supported streaming service in the coming months, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The move would allow customers to obtain Amazon streaming services without purchasing Amazon Prime, the $99 annual membership service that gives users access to Amazon’s library of streaming television shows and films, in addition to free two-day shipping.

Sources familiar with Amazon’s plan also indicated to the WSJ that the service would offer free music videos.

Such a free service would more directly pit the e-commerce giant against Google’s YouTube and Netflix, which charges $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming.

The report comes amid an intensifying race to obtain content rights and create original programming for an online audience. Amazon last year made a $1 billion investment in original content, when it let viewers decide which of 14 original pilots made specifically for Amazon would be made into original series. Five were chosen.

The news also follows months of speculation that Amazon will release its own set-top box next week at an event in New York City. Amazon Prime currently relies on third-party set-top boxes such as a Roku or Xbox One.

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