Amazon denies plans to offer OTT linear TV service

Michelle Clancy | 23-01-2014

Leading online video provider Amazon has denied widely reported rumours that it is looking to launch a linear, traditional pay-TV service online in an over-the-top (OTT) model.

The Wall Street Journal had quoted a number of sources indicating that the company was to expand its online video efforts beyond the on-demand Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming service, and that it had approached at least three major content companies about licensing their TV channels to create an offering that would replicate a cable or satellite subscription.

However, refuting the rumours, Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener told newspaper USA TODAY: "We continue to build selection for Prime Instant Video and create original shows at Amazon Studios, but we are not planning to license television channels or offer a pay-TV service."

In the recent past, Amazon has been developing its own set-top box (STB) that would compete with Roku or Apple TV as a streaming video platform. Licensing niche TV channels could make much sense in that environment. Amazon has also indicated that it is willing to invest in content: for its existing Prime on-demand service, Amazon invested about $1 billion in content in 2013, according to Cantor Fitzgerald.