On the day when Apple introduced its latest OTT effort, the redesigned $99 Apple TV OTT video set-top-box, word is Amazon is mulling a competitive OTT video offer. If true, Amazon would join, Apple, Roku, Boxxee, Vudu, Hulu, Best Buy, Netflix, soon to be Google, and a host of TV Everywhere initiatives from service providers (among others), all chasing the OTT video rabbit.
The Wall Street Journal reports Amazon is shopping a new subscription OTT video service to Hollywood in the hopes of launching a similar service to Netflix. Amazon already offers a VOD service that sells movies and TV shows, somewhat similar to Apple’s iTunes model.
Apple unveiled their latest version of Apple TV, a set-top-box that rents TV shows for .99 cents (although content choices are fairly limited for now) and HD movies which they claim will be available the same day as DVD release for $4.99. In an effort to jump start Apple TV sales, Apple lowered the pricing of the set-top-box from $229 to $99.
One advantage Amazon brings to the table is millions of customers who already subscribe to Amazon Prime, a service which offers special discounts and reduced shipping costs to its members. Amazon may offer the new subscription video package as a benefit to Amazon Prime members, instantly providing it millions of subscribers, thus giving it the muscle to take on Apple and Netflix, among others.
This OTT video chase is quite interesting to watch. You have a mix of well established brands (Apple, Google, Amazon) mixing it up with some scrappy upstarts (Roku, Boxxee, Vudu), all chasing a loosely defined business with a relatively unclear future. Is it a land grab, where all of these companies are trying to grab as much market share as possible, and then figure out the business later?