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Amazon working on subscription video package to compete with Netflix

Amazon On DemandThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is looking to offer a subscription streaming feature similar to Netflix. While digital media distribution might seem like a leap from Amazon’s retail origins, a summary of the company’s recent history clearly says otherwise. Since 2009, Amazon has offered video services provided through its On Demand store, where you can find TV series and movies much like in the iTunes Store. However, Amazon has iTunes beat when it comes to one category: while iTunes limits how long you keep the content, Amazon leaves it in your hands indefinitely.

And even though Internet TV is having a relatively difficult time getting off the ground (what with cable providers refusing to share), Amazon has integrated with Blu-ray players as well as set-top boxes from TiVo, Roku, and Google TV. While Internet TV is struggling to get sufficiently out of the gate, recent studies show consumers maintain a steady interest and will to pay for the service, and that it’s inevitably going to make its way into living rooms everywhere. When it does, Amazon’s established relationship with front-running providers could give its subscription dreams a huge boon.

Subscription plans are catching on. The WSJ reports that in the last year, Netflix has seen its subscriber number increase 52 percent since last year, but also says that Amazon would be able to offer a lower rate. Early speculation is that consumers would be offered the streaming package bundled with Amazon Prime for $79 a year, compared to Netflix’s $95 a year.

Regardless of Amazon’s rumored plans, Netflix is probably far from feeling threatened. Business Insider reported that the company easily outdid Apple’s stock market performance this year and its CEO is being looked at as Fortune’s businessman of the year. That’s not to mention its recent offer to pay $100,000 per episode for currently airing shows, a deal that would make it difficult for the millions of Netflix subscribers to switch to Amazon. Still, competition is good for the consumer, and more choices for video content may be coming your way.