NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Online retailer Amazon.com Inc is trying to create a service that gives paying subscribers unlimited access to some television shows and movies over the Internet, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Seattle-based retailer has proposed a Web-based subscription service to several major media companies including General Electric Co’s NBC Universal, Time Warner Inc and Viacom Inc, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the proposal.
Amazon did not return calls seeking comment. CBS, Viacom Time Warner and NBC Universal declined to comment, and Disney did not return calls.
The new service would look to take on companies like Netflix Inc that allow paid subscribers to stream TV shows and rent movies.
“CBS had talked to Amazon but there is no impending deal,” a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Viacom had also met with Amazon, another source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Journal reported that in at least one version of Amazon’s proposal, subscriptions could be bundled with its existing Amazon Prime service immediately giving the service a large number of built-in subscribers.
Prime is a service that offers members free two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases for $79 a year.
Separately, Apple Inc is expected on Wednesday to announce a revamp of its Apple TV. Bloomberg reported that the product will include programing from Netflix, and that users would pay a subscription fee to Netflix for the streaming service on the revamped Apple TV.
Representatives from Apple and Netflix declined comment.
Hollywood studios and media companies are vying to boost their online businesses, in part to stem online piracy of their content and also because of the higher margins they receive on digital sales.
At the same time, studios have reacted with some unease to the shift in distribution of movies and TV shows to the Web, given that they have lucrative deals with cable providers to air that content.
Last year, online sales and streaming of movies amounted to $300 million in the United States, and $340 million for TV shows, according to Adams Media Research.
NBC Universal, News Corp’s Fox Broadcasting and Walt Disney Co’s ABC network have collaborated to offer online streaming of shows at Hulu.com, but one of the fastest areas of digital distribution of Hollywood content has been Netflix’s online streaming service.
Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan, Jennifer Saba, Yinka Adegoke and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Phil Berlowitz
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