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Amazon working on subscription Web video service to take on Netflix [Updated]

February 1, 2011 |  7:36 pm

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Amazon.com is said to be in talks with movie studios about getting the rights to libraries of movies so it can offer a streaming video subscription service to combat Netflix.

The Seattle company already offers the Amazon Video on Demand service, which allows users to pay a few dollars to watch a movie or TV show once on a computer or on a TV equipped with an app for the service.

But so far, Netflix is the clear leader in terms of services that charge a monthly fee to watch unlimited movies and TV shows on smart phones, tablets, computers and TVs. Netflix charges $7.99 a month for its service.

Video can be streamed through Netflix on Apple's iPod Touch, the iPhone, the iPad, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 handsets, the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, and many TVs and Blu-ray players on the market in the U.S. and Canada.

Our sister blog, Company Town, has more details on what Amazon has in the works, as reported by the Los Angeles Times' Ben Fritz.

Fritz reports:

The Web's biggest retailer has held talks with the Hollywood studios and several independent companies about acquiring library content for a subscription movie streaming service similar to Netflix, according to people familiar with the matter.

The online retail giant has already scooped up rights to some independently produced movies but has yet to strike a deal with any of Hollywood's big six studios, those people said.

Amazon has told studio executives that the company wanted to launch the service in early to mid-February but has delayed those plans until at least later in the month to deal with some technical glitches and to acquire more content. It is still unclear when the service will go live.

Head over to Fritz's report on the Company Town blog to read the rest of the story.

[Updated 11:32 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Netflix streaming was available on Android devices. Netflix is set to launch an Android app this year. Thanks goes out to Technology blog commenters for pointing this error out.]

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings demonstrates how various gaming devices can be used to stream video via Netflix during the launch of its streaming Internet subscription service for movies and television in September. The Canadian introduction marked the first time the Netflix service was made available outside the U.S. Credit: Mike Cassese/Reuters

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