WSJ: Amazon, Onlive Developing Netflix-like Subscription Streaming Services

Netflix is currently the big dog of the movie streaming game but offerings from several established companies might put up a bit of fight. Amazon and Onlive are both said to be working on a similar service, but let’s kill something straight away. These are not Netflix killers, m’kay? Just because a massive entity such as Amazon or a lively start-up as Onlive decides to wet their feet in a different space doesn’t mean the current swimmers need to watch for shit in the pool right away. Netflix’s storied success should gently lead these companies and others into the deep end and not the very effective sink or swim method Netflix experienced years ago.

The WSJ reports that Amazon is working on another streaming service, one with a subscription price scheme that will somehow be bundled with the Amazon Prime service that’s currently priced at $79 a year. Said service will stream TV shows and movies. This is slightly different than the Amazon Video On Demand service currently ran by the company. It’s the streaming part that’s different.

Amazon is currently viewed as the counter-iTunes as its On Demand store shares much of the same content for a similar price as the Apple counterpart but there’s a key difference. Amazon lets you keep what you buy; pay for a TV show and it’s yours until time ends — or until Amazon is no more but the former will probably happen first. Pay for a TV show on Apple TV and it’s yours for just a matter of hours.

Amazon also found its way onto several key platforms including TiVo, Roku, many Internet-connect Blu-ray players and is the video service of choice on Google TV. It’s probably not a stretch to imagine that Amazon would work this service into the current platform to instantly bring it to all the current streamers already deployed.

Onlive, however, doesn’t have the same install base as Amazon Video On Demand. But it does have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone hack away. One of the video game streaming company’s major investors just happens to be Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio. With a push of a gigantic red cartoon button, OnLive could probably have access to the company’s vast video library. Subscription-based plans are already kosher with OnLive and a video streaming service would greatly increase its living room appeal.

OnLive’s CEO warns that if Netflix could be the only streaming service in town if alternatives are not available. Services like the ones from Amazon, OnLive, and even Vizio, who is said to have a similar service in the works, might not be able to ever topple Netflix. All they need to do is turn a profit for the companies to be successful. Being the coolest kid in town does have its drawbacks anyway. Every little mistake gets blown out of proportion and there’s always nasty rumors always circulating about venereal diseases and whatnot. But competition is good. Even for Netflix.