Amazon plans free streaming audio, video service

0 plans a free, advertising-supported streaming television and music-video service, a departure from its strategy of offering video only to members of its $99-a-year Prime service, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

“The new service, which could launch in the coming months, likely will feature original series and may include licensed programming, these people said. As part of the project, Amazon has held talks with the creators of “Betas,” a series about a Silicon Valley startup that Amazon produced last year for Prime, these people said.”

Amazon also plans to offer free music videos with advertising to people visiting its retail website, two of the people said. A search for Bruce Springsteen CDs, for example, might yield an option to watch the “Born in the U.S.A.” video.

The new project is part of a broader push by Amazon to transform itself from a retailer into a multimedia power.

The ad-supported streaming video project also would give Amazon an opportunity to flex its ad muscle. Amazon has been quietly building out a service for placing ads on its own and other websites.

The new data Amazon collects about viewers’ television or music preferences could allow it to deliver more targeted advertising, including for products available on its retail website, said the Wall Street Journal story.