All signs point to Amazon.com launching a streaming service to compete with Netflix. However, its arrival may already be delayed.
Citing unnamed sources, The Los Angeles Times reported that Amazon initially wanted to launch its streaming service in early February. However, due to issues with getting the service up and running and the difficulty it is having acquiring content, the publication's sources say Amazon has pushed the launch back to as early as late February.
Reports of Amazon launching a streaming service have been surfacing for quite some time. Back in August, the company was said to be in negotiations with film and television studios to start bringing content to the as-yet announced service. Last month, it announced plans to acquire the remaining shares it didn't own of U.K.-based Netflix equivalent Lovefilm, prompting some to wonder when, not if, Amazon would bring a streaming service to the U.S.
The flames were stoked even more late last month when Engadget received some screenshots of what's believed to be the Amazon streaming service running. The screenshots indicate that the service has over 5,000 movies and television shows available, and Amazon Prime customers who pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping will be able to stream content from the service for free.
Assuming the screenshots are actually Amazon's streaming service, it's hard to say what shows or films make up the 5,000 pieces of content.
The Los Angeles Times' sources say Amazon is having trouble getting major film studios on board. The publication said that as of now, none of the major film studios have signed on to Amazon's service over concerns that such a deal might negatively impact physical disc sales. The studios are also unsure if Amazon will ante up the same cash Netflix has paid for content.
That won't help Amazon's chances of competing with Netflix, which has been able to bring all kinds of major studio content to its service. The company's offering has many modern movies, as well as classics, like The Godfather. Moreover, it has been able to bring its streaming service to several different devices, including the Apple TV and a slew of televisions, helping it see its subscriber base grow to over 20 million at the end of 2010.