Retail has always evolved, from the days of the general store to catalog operators, mass merchants and category killers. Now it seems that "entertainment provider" and "original content creator" are also part of the merchandise assortment as more retailers try to emulate Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its Prime Instant Video service.
Online retailer Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) plans to join Amazon as a provider of streaming services with the launch of a tiered subscription service of its own.
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne made the announcement at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami.
The Salt Lake City-based retailer plans to introduce the service later this year with about 30,000 titles, with the goal of producing original content similar to Netflix and Amazon.
Netflix's original series "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" have garnered the streaming media service critical acclaim and increased subscribers. Amazon's own version of the program is designed to do the same. The retailer's original series "Transparent" won two Golden Globe awards, one for best TV comedy series and its creator Jill Soloway and the other for Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the show's lead. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was seated in the audience and the the retailer has lost no time in adding more content to its line-up, including a yet-to-be-named original series from Woody Allen.
Amazon has used original content to help grow membership in its Prime subscription service and that is Overstock's goal as well. Access to content will be tied to Club O membership. Byrne hopes the content will grow the $20 a year service to 10 million members by year-end, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Whereas Amazon Prime members are estimated at roughly 40 million, Overstock's CEO claims that website averages 30 million visitors each month, many coming from mobile devices.
-See this Wall Street Journal article (tiered subscription)
-See this Variety story
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