Media News

Amazon to launch streaming video chairman Jeff Bezos speaks to the media during the company's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, Washington in this May 28, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Anthony P. Bolante

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Inc, the largest Internet retailer, will launch a streaming video service in the next few weeks to augment its digital offerings, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

Jeff Bezos, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s three-day D: All Things Digital conference taking place north of San Diego, did not elaborate, and a company spokeswoman would not provide more information.

The Seattle-based company has been beefing up its digital media offerings in order to better compete with rivals such as Apple Inc, which dominates the category with the popular iTunes music download service.

Besides recently launching an electronic book reader, the Kindle, Amazon has been building a digital music store and now offers downloadable movies, television shows and videos on its Web site.

It also has a deal with TiVo Inc, maker of the popular digital video recorder, that allows users to rent videos from Amazon’s Unbox service and watch them on their televisions.

Amazon is not alone in looking at streaming online video, allowing viewers to essentially rent movies via the Web rather than download large files to store on personal computers or other devices.

On Wednesday, the chief executive of DVD-by-mail company Netflix Inc <NFLX.O, Reed Hastings, said the company is currently funding streaming video in order to “give us years of subscriber and earnings expansion.” Hastings spoke at the company’s investor day in San Francisco.

“Once we’re in streaming ... we can attract well beyond 20 million subscribers worldwide,” Hastings said.

(Additional reporting by Susan Zeidler in San Francisco)

Reporting by Alexandria Sage, editing by Gerald E. McCormick